Merritt Centennials
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The Centennials have a chance to wrap their preseason schedule with an even 2-2 record if they can pull out a win against the Prince George Spruce Kings tonight.

The two teams met on Wednesday up north in PG, and the game needed extra time to decide a winner. Vincent Duplessis was solid in his first full start of the preseason, stopping 34 of 36 shots, and kept the Cents in the game when they were being outplayed early. Layton Ahac scored in the final minute of the first frame on the powerplay to give the Spruce Kings the 1-0 lead.

In the second, Christian Sabin evened things up as him and Matt Kopperud crashed the net and tag teamed it home.

The final period saw the game become a little more lively, the Spruce Kings got themselves an early goal courtesy hometown product Corey Cunningham, but Nic Granowicz would tie things up halfway through the period when he picked a defenseman's pocket skated in alone, and sniped one down low to tie things back up at 2. Towards the end of the game, with things getting chippy, the Spruce Kings were assessed a boarding penalty with 11 seconds remaining.

In the extra frame, the Centennials controlled right off the opening face off and didn't look back as Matt Kopperud was finally able to convert a Mathieu Gosselin saucer pass into the back of the net to give the Cents their first victory of the preseason.

Tonight, the Centennials lineup will remain pretty well unchanged. Chemistry is starting to build amongst the established lines, and Head Coach Joe Martin wants to see that chemistry grow instead of changing things up too early. The Cents will still be without the services of Daniel Tkac, who was injured in the final intrasquad game, and a defenseman will see some time at forward, or cycling through as a 7th d-man.  Colten Gerlib filled that role on Wednesday, and it will fall to another defender to seize that opportunity tonight.

Austin Roden will likely make his first full start of the preseason, and has been exceptional so far allowing only one goal over two half-games against the Vernon Vipers.

One thing the Cents will have to keep an eye on is their discipline, on Wednesday night they spent a fair amount of time in the box in the second period, and are best when they can keep their four lines rolling.

Come on down to the NVMA tonight by 7pm to see the Cents wrap their preseason schedule against the Spruce Kings. Admission is $5 at the door, and season ticket holders get in free.

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