The Merritt Centennials (3rd Int/22-13-1-1) return home for a rematch against the Trail Smoke Eaters (6th Int/14-18-5-3) tonight, in the second game of a home-and-home series in the final weekend of BCHL action of 2018.
The Cents are hoping to duplicate the effort from last night where they came away with a 5-2 win. A great start in the first period saw the Cents out to a 3-0 lead. Christian Sabin got the party started with a hard drive to the net, and was found flawlessly by Captain Nick Wicks. Rookie Brett Roloson extended the lead to 2-0 with a shot bar-down and in, while Nick Granowicz got the third goal by just throwing the puck on net. Vincent Duplessis was perfect through 2 periods stopping 21 shots in that time, but in the third the Smoke Eaters made it close crawling back to make it 3-2 before the Cents got more contributions. Another goal from Sabin where he was driving hard to the net gave the Cents some breathing room, and Nick Granowicz iced the game with an empty netter for a 5-2 final.
The Cents now lead the season series 2-0-1. Prior to the game last night, the Smoke Eaters had won against the Penticton Vees and the Wenatchee Wild. With the win the Centennials continue their streak of not losing 3 games in a row this season.
The Cents are looking to finish off a strong start to the season at home where they are 14-5 in 2018.The home record is good enough for 4th in the BCHL, and away from home they've been playing .500 hockey. The NVMA is one of the toughest buildings to play in, and it’s a place where things happen quickly. A turnover at either end can result in a chance before you know it so both teams will have to be sharp.
The Cents continue to be led by Brad Cocca who picked up an assist last night and is one shy of 50 ahead of the break and 3rd in the BCHL scoring race. Nick Granowicz is starting to collect points, and is up to 44 now, back into the top 10 at 7th. Captain Nick Wicks is third on the team with 38 points and remains in the top 20.
The Smoke Eaters can score in bunches and are led by veteran Chase Stevenson who has 34 points, Carter Jones has 31 points and their Captain Braeden Tuck has 29 points.
The special teams battle still favours the Smoke Eaters:
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Trail - 19.8% (7th) Trail – 76.4% (14th)
Cents - 17.7% (13th) Cents – 75% (17th)
The goaltending duel will see Austin Roden start the game for the Centennials. He is 14-7 with an .895 SV%, a 3.35 GAA and 1 shutout. New backup Logan Terness will go for the Trail Smoke Eaters the young goaltender has seen two games of action and is 0-1 with a 6.20 GAA and .860 SV%.
Head Coach Joe Martin says the Cents will need to get a couple things under control to have another victory over Trail.
“Our faceoffs and our penalty kill will need to improve. We started a lot of the 2nd and 3rd without the puck and you saw Trails shots go up. Tighten those two areas up and I like our chances.”
Puck Drop 7pm from the NVMA. It's Ugly Sweater night, rock an ugly sweater and get in for the price tier lower!
Pre-Game 6;45 on Q101.1FM and Q101.ca with Jared Thomas.