The Merritt Centennials were playing with many regulars out of the lineup, and the bench got shorter towards the end of the game with fights, as the Langley Rivermen came out on top 4-0.
In a game that didn’t have any bearings on the standings for the Cents, they were also short a number of their regulars. Tyrell Buckley is out with injury, but Jackson Munro and Joey Berkopec were out of the game sick. The Cents skated with 4 d-men and Zach Zorn even came back to help out on the back end.
The lone goal of the first went to the Rivermen Captain Brendan Budy who scored on a 2-man advantage from the high slot with a crowd in front. It was the only one that got by Jacob Berger as he made 15/16 saves.
In the second, the Rivermen were held off the scoresheet until late, when John Wochiechowski found Angus Crookshank on a partial 2-on-1 and Crookshank made the quick move to the forehand to put it past a lateral moving Berger.
The third saw the Rivermen convert early, this time Budy had the puck go off his booty and flutter over Berger after it was thrown at the net waist high.
A few minutes later the Rivermen’s Ethan Leyh was driving wide, and down low, his feed to the slot got past everyone and back to the right point where Carter Stephenson unloaded a one-timer through the five hole of Berger.
In the final ten minutes of the game the rough stuff started. Zach Zorn dropped the gloves with Nick Ponak and the two had a spirited tussle before Ponak scored the takedown. Not to be outdone, Christian Sabin threw down against Alec Capstick minutes later, and scored perhaps the most convincing Cents win in terms of a tango this year.
The damage was already done however, and Langley held on for the 4-0 win.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Joe Martin felt the team showed character.
“I felt we gave a good effort, down a few regulars, players stepped up, Zorn volunteered to play defense, and battled through. That third goal early in the period was a bit unlucky for us, but other than that we were right there.”
The Cents will now look forward to the first round of the playoffs where they’ll encounter the Wenatchee Wild. Game 1 goes Thursday from the Wolf Den in Wenatchee.
Stay tuned to Q101 for details about the schedule, year end awards, and more analysis.
The Merritt Centennials are set to square off in their final game of the season on the road against the Langley Rivermen.
The Cents have locked up their playoff seeding, and now know who they'll play in the first round of the playoffs following their loss to the West Kelowna Warriors last night, but the Rivermen still have something to play for. Langley is looking to hold off challengers in the Mainland Division for that second seed, and as they don't have as many wins need to pick up points. The Cents will play Wenatchee in round 1 and last night on the post-game show Joe Martin said this will be the only game of the season that doesn't mean much, but that doesn't mean the Cents don't want to finish strong.
Merritt had their 6 game unbeaten streak snapped last night against the West Kelowna Warriors, falling in overtime 2-1. Despite a full house to take in the action in the home finale, the Cents couldn't muster the offense that they'd had early in the week. Flattering totals of 7-4 over the Trail Smoke Eaters and 6-1 over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks couldn't translate, and the only goal the Cents scored was credited to Christian Sabin despite being an own goal by the Warriors. Jake Harrison had one on the powerplay in the second, no scoring in the third, and in overtime with the Cents fate sealed Parm Dhaliwal gave the Warriors the win.
Tonight the Cents will be trying to iron out whatever kinks are left in their game, but after an unbeaten in 6 stretch they're probably feeling pretty good about the X's and O's. These teams last met just last week, and the Centennials came away with a 4-1 victory. Tyrell Buckley had the lone goal of the first before Henry Cleghorn, Christian Sabin, and Zach Court added goals in the second, Langley got one back from Jayden Lee in the third to break the shutout bid for Austin Roden. Since then the Rivermen have gone unbeaten, including a 5-3 upset over the Penticton Vees, but they're coming off a 2-2 tie against the Coquitlam Express.
Langley's top guns are Brendan Budy with 53 points, Angus Crookshank with 44, John Wojciechowski with 32, and Colin Bernard is their leading defenseman with 29 points. The Cents offense went silent last night save for Christian Sabin who's had a good week since returning to the lineup with 3 goals in that time and now up to 15 points, Nick Wicks will have one final game to see if he can catch Henry Cleghorn for the team lead as they are at 46 and 48 points respectively. The rookie Jackson Munro is now the leading point getter amongst defenseman in the absence of Tyrell Buckley with 21 points.
The special teams battle sees the Cents with the advantage, still in 4th with the man advantage at 20.9%, while the Rivermen are 14th at 15.4%. On the penalty kill the Cents at 6th 83% and the Rivermen 9th at 82.1%.
In net, the Cents will give Jacob Berger the final start of the season, he's 13-21-2-0 with a 90.6 SV%, a 3.43 GAA, and 2 Shutouts. With the season still meaning something to the Rivermen and Chad Cromar going down with injury the last game out against the Cents, we will likely see Braedon Flemming. Flemming is 20-22-0-2 with a 90.5 SV% and a 2.84 GAA.
Cents look to finish the season strong, as they head into the Wolves Den in round 1.
Puck Drop 7pm from the Lodge in Langley, Pre-Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1FM or online at q101.ca.
The Merritt Centennials had a full house on hand, honouring Ty Pozzobon, raising money and awareness for mental health, but the West Kelowna Warriors spoiled the party and took the game early in OT 2-1.
The first period went scoreless, with a few penalties exchanged by both sides, but neither team able to get the edge. Austin Roden stopped all 6 shots he faced, Nic Amundrud stopped all 10 he faced.
In the second stanza, the Warriors broke the goose egg on the powerplay 7:18 into the period. Jake Harrison unloaded a shot from the line that found it's way through the crowd and into the top corner glove side on Roden.
4 minutes later Christian Sabin got credit for a goal, after he worked the puck down the right wing, and from the half wall, the Warrior defender stripped him of the puck and threw it into the bottom of his own net underneath the right pad of Amundrud. The Cents and Warriors headed to the 3rd tied 1-1.
In the third no one could break the tie, despite Tilsley taking a late penalty for the Warriors, the Cents couldn't convert on the powerplay and the teams headed to overtime. With the game heading to extras, it also meant that the Warriors locked up the 5th seed, and with the point for getting to OT, the Cents did lock up the 6th seed.
That would be the only solace in this game as just 30 seconds into OT, Parm Dhaliwal struck the top corner off the right wing with a quick shot that beat Roden.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin said he had to give the other team credit.
"They played well defensively, and Amundrud was good, he didn't have to stop too many grade A chances, but he did enough. They knew all they needed was to get to overtime and they did."
The Cents will finish the season tomorrow night against the Langley Rivermen.
The Merritt Centennials have their home finale tonight at the NVMA against the West Kelowna Warriors. The game is huge on the ice, and in the building the Cents will be celebrating the life of Ty Pozzobon while also having a Mental Health night in the arena.
The Cents still have an outside chance at catching the West Kelowna Warriors in the standings, but it starts with a win tonight. Combined with a win tomorrow night against Langley, and the Warriors losing their remaining game against the Silverbacks, the Cents could finish as high as 5th place in the Interior.
Merritt comes in red hot, unbeaten in their last 6, and the offense is coming to life as well fresh off a 7- 4 win on Tuesday, and a 6-1 win against the Silverbacks last night. Contributions are coming from everywhere and from unlikely sources: Mike Van Unen, who only had one goal on the year coming in, got two on the powerplay last night, Mathieu Gosselin, Jackson Munro, Brendan Scneider, and Matt Kopperud supplied the rest of the offense. Despite the huge win, the Cents had a big loss - a hit up high early to Captain Tyrell Buckley had him leave the game with the support of two team mates with concussion symptoms. Austin Roden continued his strong play stopping 25 of 26, continuing a 5 game unbeaten streak.
The Warriors are 3-4-1-0 in the month of February and are coming off a heart breaking 7-6 overtime loss to the Wenatchee Wild. The Warriors were leading 4-2 after two periods of play, before the Wild exploded for 4 goals in the 3rd. It was the Warriors who actually had to pull the goalie to tie the game late, and in overtime it was Matt Dorsey who beat Nic Amundrud to take it in the first overtime frame.
The Cents and Warriors last met in early February, where Merritt was victorious by a 6-3 score. It was the coming out party for what was then the newly minted line of Zach Risteau, Brendan Schneider and Zach Court - in the 9 games since, they've combined for 37 points. Rylan Van Unen and Risteau tallied in the first, Risteau added another in the second, as did Tyrell Buckley on the powerplay, and Brad Cocca and Brendan Schneider tallied in the third. RJ Murphy, Ryan Steele, and Chase Dubois had goals for the Warriors, Cole Demers took the loss, and Jacob Berger seized the win.
The Warriors are led by Chase Dubois with 57 points, Captain Jared Marino has 53, Ryan Steele has fit in well since coming over from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and has 53 points, RJ Murphy as 44, and Mike Ryan is their leading defenseman with 42 points.
The Cents are getting contributions from up and down the line up, but the players that have shot up their point totals late in the season are Nick Wicks with 46, Zach Court with 41, Brendan Schneider with 36, and Zach Risteau is up to 20 poitns despite only playing in 19 games.
The special teams battle sees the Merritt Centennials also catching fire at the right time, now 4th on the powerplay at 21.3% while the Warriors are 6th with 20.4%. On the Penalty Kill, the Cents up to 6th at 83.2% while the Warriors are the worst team in the playoff picture at 16th with 76.7%.
In net, the Cents last saw Cole Demers of the Warriors, but with the game meaning so much we could see Nik Amundrud get the start. Amundrud is 16-16 with a 89.7 SV%, 3.44 GAA, and 1 shutout. Cole Demers is 10-10-0-1 with an 89.3 SV%, a 3.68 GAA, and 1 shutout. The Cents will have a similar decision to make between the pipes, as Austin Roden is red hot, but Jacob Berger also picked up a win his last time out. Roden 12-9-1-3 with a 93.1 SV%, a 2.41 GAA and 2 shutouts. Berger 13-21-2-0 with a 90.6 SV%, a 3.43 GAA, and 2 shutouts.
The Cents hope they can use the positive energy in the stands tonight to propel the to a W and stay hot heading into the post season.
Puck Drop 7pm at the NVMA, Pre-Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1FM or online at q101.ca.
The Merritt Centennials punished the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on the powerplay, and mopped up on the scoreboard 6-1, but with Captain Tyrell Buckley going down early after a dangerous hit to the head, the win felt a little empty.
Just 3 and a half minutes into the game, Logan Mostat caught Tyrell Buckley with a hit up high in the Cents corner, and the Captain fell to the ice awkwardly, and had trouble gaining his feet as he had to be helped to the dressing room by Joey Berkopec and a Cents volunteer. He wouldn't come back in the game, and he won't likely play for the remainder of the weekend.
The Cents sought to make the Silverbacks pay on the ensuing 5 minute major. Mike Van Unen opened the scoring with a shot from the line that found its way through and beat Reid Cooper.
2 and a half minutes later with the Cents on a two-man advantage, Mathieu Gosselin sniped one from the short side near the goal line, after playing give-and-go with Nick Wicks, the shot baffled Cooper and had a good angle on it to make it 2-0.
The Cents would start the second on the powerplay, after another dangerous hit behind the net, this time on Joey Berkopec. Mike Van Unen would tally his second of the game from Gosselin and Cleghorn, increasing his season total by 200% as he's now up to 3 on the year.
A minute and a half later Jackson Munro scored his 3rd of the season, a top corner snipe where he used the bodies in front as a screen.
Towards the end of the second Matt Kopperud converted on a gift from Reid Cooper who went outto play the puck behind the net, promptly gave it away to Wicks in the corner, who found Kopperud out front to tap it into the open net to make it 5-0. THat was the end of Cooper's night. Kyle Dumba came on in relief after that.
The third period saw Austin Roden's bid for a shutout broken at the 11:01 mark by Nick Unruh. Roden made 25/26 shots during the game.
Brendan Schneider added another, once again on the powerplay with 5:13 to go in the 3rd period. After a feed from Zach Court, Schneider made the move to the back hand and slid it past Dumba for the final goal of the game.
The Silverbacks spent the majority of the night in the box, but the Cents punished them for it going 4/6 on the powerplay.
Next game goes tomorrow night against the West Kelowna Warriors for the final home game of the season. It's mental health night, and the Cents will wear their