Merritt Centennials
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Fresh off an Island road trip that saw the Cents pick up 4 of a possible 6 points, forward Nick Granowicz is getting recognition from the BCHL for his efforts.

Granowicz compiled 3 goals and 1 assist over the road trip where he found the back of the net in each contest. On Friday, against the Bulldogs he had a goal and an assist, and was recognized as the games first star. He followed that up with a game-tying goal against the Cowichan Valley Capitals before they stormed back and took the game 4-2, and on Sunday he pocketed the goal that would be the eventual game-winner against the Eagles.

Granowicz, at 13 points through 12 games played, is now hot on the heels of Brad Cocca, who has 14 points, for the team scoring lead.

Cents have another busy week ahead with matchups against the Penticton Vees on Wednesday, West Kelowna Warriors on Friday, and a rematch against the Capitals on Sunday afternoon.

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The Centennials finish the road trip strong and top the Surrey Eagles with a 4-3 win to take 4 of a possible 6 points on the Island swing.

The Cents came out flying in the first and converted on an early two-on-one just over a minute in. Brad Cocca broke in on the right side, and feathered a pass across to Mathieu Gosselin who finished up and over Kyle Dumba who was making his first BCHL start of the season for the Eagles. Brett Roloson gave the Cents a two goal edge at the 2:18 mark after getting a similar feed from Christian Sabin. Rylan Van Unen kept the Cents offensive wheels turning when he poke checked a defender and broke in alone cut to the net, pulled the puck backhand, forehand and chipped it over Dumba to make it 3-0. The Eagles got a late marker in the first on the ‘powerplay’ to get on the board 3-1. Dumba stopped 16/19 shots while Duplessis stopped 6/7.

The second period didn’t see as much offense as the first as Nick Granowicz got the lone tally for his 3rd goal in as many games after a nice cross-ice feed from Captain Nick Wicks. Vincent Duplessis 10 in the second, and Dumba stopped 13/14.

In the last period of the road trip the Cents were looking to hang on to a 3 goal lead. The Eagles cut the lead to two, halfway through the second when Captain Ty Westgard was able to beat Duplessis after finding a loose puck in the slot. Then with the net empty, the Eagles got a deflection in front to pull within one, but that would be as close as they’d come as Duplessis and the Cents would hang on.

Vincent Duplessis won his third start in a row, and the Cents have won 3 of their last 4.

Head Coach Joe Martin said the road trip was a success overall.

“I think we saw the team play our game throughout the weekend, use our offense, use our speed, but there’s definitely more to work on.”

Next up the Penticton Vees on Wednesday night at 7pm.

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The Merritt Centennials (6-5) finish their road trip on Thanksgiving Sunday with a matinee matchup against the Surrey Eagles . 

The Cents are coming off a loss to the last place Cowichan Valley Capitals, and learned that no team can be underestimated. The Capitals were able to use the strength of 3 powerplay goals to power past the Cents, and 3 goals were deflections in front leaving Austin Roden hopeless. The Cents tied the game at twos with goals from Mathieu Gosselin and Nick Granowicz, but weren't able to push for more as the Capitals used a late powerplay to gain the lead, and then added some insurance in the third period. 

The Surrey Eagles aren't a team that should be underestimated as they've already proven to be a tough test against the Centennials this season. Back at the NVMA in the third game of the season, the Cents looked to be in the driver seat heading into the third period with a 5-1 lead, but the Eagles soared back in the third period and the final score was a barn burning 7-6. The game saw goals from Mathieu Gosselin, Rylan Van Unen, and Brendan Schneider who all had two while Daniel Tkac added his first of the season. The Cents will need to learn from their most recent loss, and their most recent matchup against the Eagles to get past a tough test in Surrey. 

The Eagles have been making changes following a late in the off-season coaching change from Brandon West to Peter Schaeffer. Head Coach Schaeffer has been making personnel changes throughout the early goings of the season, and the Cents will face a very different looking Eagles team than the last time out. The Eagles started the season 0-5 before picking up their first win against the Vernon Vipers. They've also won games against the Prince George Spruce Kings and the surprising Coquitlam Express so they've proven they can beat top teams. 

The Centennials have slipped to second in the Interior Division and with only two points seperating the top from the bottom of the division, the pressure is on to keep on winning. Once again, the Cents will be playing a team that is at the bottom of their respective division as the Eagles are 3-6, and are coming off a tight one goal loss. The Cents are 2nd in the league in goals for, and will face the only team in the league that's allowed more goals in the Surrey Eagles with 46. Goaltending continues to be an issue for the Cents as they haven't had one of their netminders really steal a game this year. 

Brad Cocca still leads the Cents in scoring despite being held off the scoresheet last night, he has 14 points. Nick Granowicz has been the most consistent Cent on this road trip and is now up to 13 points. Nick Wicks, Brendan Schneider, and Mathieu Gosselin are all right behind with 11 points. 

The Eagles have the highest flying goal scorer in the league in Ty Westgard with 18 points, and they traded their second highest scorer Eric Linell to the Penticton Vees this week, leaving Chase Stevenson as the other top threat with 10 points. 

The special teams battle sees the Cents continue to struggle as well coming off a 1/7 performance, they've now slipped to 15.9% but remain in 10th spot league wide. The Eagles are last in the league with the man advantage with a 9.6% conversion rate, however, they have the top ranked penalty kill in the league at 88.9%. The Cents at the opposite end of the spectrum with the worst ranked penalty kill in the league at 73%

In net the Cents will hope for a better performance this afternoon as Vincent Duplessis could get the tap on the shoulder. Now 2-2 with a 3.13 GAA and an .888 SV% he has the better numbers. Austin Roden slips to 4-3 with a 4.14 GAA and a .877 SV%. The Eagles have made some moves in net acquiring Cayden Bailey who is 2-4 wtih a 3.43 GAA and a .908 SV%. Daniel Davidson is the other option with a 1-2 record, a 4.66 GAA, and an .879 SV%. 

Head Coach Joe Martin understands that this is an Eagles team that continues to improve. 

"This team gave us a run for our money the last time out, and they've been making changes to make their team better, so we have to be better against them."

Puck Drop 4pm. Pre-Game 3:45 on Q101.1FM and online at q101.ca with Jared Thomas. 

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The Cents stumbled on their road swing, as the penalty kill allowed 3 of the 4 goals scored, and the Cowichan Valley Capitals got their second win of the season 4-2.

The start wasn’t atrocious for the Cents, but it left something to be desired as they couldn’t beat rookie Matthew Waite in the first frame. The Capitals managed to beat Austin Roden twice, both goals coming on the powerplay, on deflections from Paul Selleck. Roden stopped 8/10 while Waite stopped 8/8 shots thrown his way.

In the second period, the Cents were able to answer with a powerplay of their own. Mathieu Gosselin got a cross-ice back door feed from Matt Kopperud to make it 2-1, but the Cents couldn’t muster any more offense despite multiple opportunities with the extra man. Despite firing 18 shots on net in the second Waite was only beaten once, while Roden only faced 9 and stopped them all.

The final frame saw the Cents fighting to get back into the game, and they were rewarded when Rylan Van Unen feathered a pass forward for Nick Granowicz who pulled the puck to his forehand in the slot and ripped a shot glove side to tie the game. However, the Capitals used their powerplay to restore the one goal edge, and quickly got some insurance to take it 4-2. Roden stopped 33/37 shots while Wait stopped 32/34.

The Cents lost the special team battle in this game, going 1/7 on the powerplay and surrendering 3/6 on the penalty kill.

Head Coach Joe Martin said getting out to the slow start didn’t help.

“I wasn’t pleased with our start, we got away from ourselves, and we got in an early hole because of it.”

The Cents hope to dig themselves out of the hole, and back in the win column tomorrow afternoon against the Surrey Eagles.

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The Merritt Centennials (6-4) continue the Island swing tonight against the Cowichan Valley Capitals (1-6-1). **PUCK DROP 6PM**

Last night the Cents picked up their second win in a row by edging the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 4-3. After the Bulldogs got the lone goal of the first period, Joey Berkopec was the first to beat John Hawthorne in the second period for his first goal of the season. Rylan Van Unen got his 6th goal of the year on a Cents powerplay to gain the one goal edge 2-1, but the Bulldogs would tie it up on a powerplay of their own. In the third, Nick Granowicz broke off the wall and slid a backhander low to baffle Hawthorne to restore the one goal edge 3-2, but once again the Bulldogs managed to beat Vincent Duplessis to tie the game at threes. The Cents pushed for the go-ahead, and persevered thanks to leading scorer Brad Cocca who wristed one blocker-side to give the Cents a 4-3 lead with a minute and a half remaining. Duplessis and the Cents would hang on for the victory to start this road trip off right. 

Last year the Centennials bested the Capitals on both occasions they played. The first game was a resounding 7-1 win, while the game on the Island was a shutout 4-0. 

The Capitals were the only team on the outside looking in when it came to the playoffs last season, and find themseles in the same spot to start the year at 1-6-1. Starting the year 0-3, they picked up their lone win 4-0 against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, and find themselves in a 5 game losing skid heading into tonights matchup. The Capitals also find themselves struggling on offense, as they've taken over the bottom of the league in goals for with 17, while the Cents continue to lead the way with 39. 

After his game-winning goal, Brad Cocca continues to power the Cents offense with 14 points, and following a two-point game Nick Granowicz moves into second on the team with 12 points. Captain Nick Wicks has 11 points, while Matt Kopperud, Mathieu Gosselin and Brendan Schneider all have 10 points a piece. 

The Capitals are led by Vincent Millette with 5 points and have a slough of players at 4 points a piece including: Luke Vanroboys, Ryan Moon, and Preston Brodziak. 

The special teams battle sees the Cents improve their numbers to 16.1% with the powerplay but remain in 10th in the league while the Capitals are 15th with a 13.5% conversion rate with the extra man. The Capitals have the edge on the penalty kill at 8th with 84.5% and the Cents are 15th with a 75.4% kill rate. 

In net the Cents will turn to Austin Roden for game 2, just up the road from his hometown Victoria. Sporting a record of 4-2, a save percentage of .874, and a goals against of 4.12, he looks to get back in the win column after being pulled in the 6-3 loss to Penticton after allowing 4 goals in the first. Vincent Duplessis has improved to 2-2 with an .888 SV% and a 3.13 GAA. Jack Grant has shouldered the majority of the starts for the Capitals and sits 1-6 with a .917 SV% and a 3.02 GAA. Matthew Waite is 0-1 with a 3.51 GAA and a .897 SV%. 

Head Coach Joe Martin anticipates a fierce physical battle tonight. 

"The Capitals play more of a physical game, so our guys will have to power through some hits and make some plays and just persevere."

The Cents will look to persevere tonight for ther 3rd win in a row against the Capitals. 

PUCK DROP 6PM. Pre-Game 6:45 on Q101.1FM or online at q101.ca with Jared Thomas. 

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