Merritt Centennials
Q101 is the Home of the Cents!

The Merritt Centennials finished their preseason with a win against the Cranbrook Bucks after a complete game effort from the net out led to a 4-2 victory.

Early on it was goaltender Josh Dias leading the way as the Cranbrook Bucks were keeping the pressure on and firing everything on net. The Cents did a good job of keeping the Bucks to the outside and bided their time until a Cranbrook mistake. Rookie goalie Nathan Airey went out to play the puck and Walker Erickson picked the puck off in the right side corner before throwing it out front to a wide open Marlow and the Cranbrook native opened the scoring to make it 1-0. Noah Leibl was able to get the equalizer in the first period. After 1 shots were 23-7 in favour of the Bucks.

In the second period, the Cents started to get their legs underneath them and it was an end to end affair. Chances were good in both zones, but it was the goaltenders who were stealing the day. Walker Erickson stayed red hot and broke the deadlock by scoring a goal of the preseason candidate. Skating off the wall, Erickson chipped it up and over the Bucks defender, juked around the body, then gloved the puck down to his stick and fired it five-hole to make it 2-1. That would be the only goal of a penalty-less 2nd frame. Shots after 2 were 32-23 Bucks.

In the third period the Centennials got into some penalty trouble but were able to weather the storm with some solid defensive play. On one of their first chances in the offensive zone the Cents were able to capitalize after Wyatt Marlow kept the Bucks hemmed into the zone with the body, retrieved the puck and found Liam Visram who fired top corner glove side to make it 3-1 Cents. The Bucks were looking poised to pull the goaltender before they took a penalty for tripping, and the Cents made good on the powerplay. Brandon Dent fired one low blocker with a quick release from the high slot to make it 4-1. The Bucks got one back with 10 seconds left on a man advantage of their own but it wouldn't be enough as the Cents held on for the 4-2 win. Final shots were 43-32 Cranbrook.

After the game Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said the team continues to build to prepare for the regular season.

"The team is definitely continuing to build off the momentum, they're bonding on the road, and we are starting to figure things out."

The Centennials preseason has been suspended due to the most recent provincial health order. Keep track of the BCHL and Cents social media for the latest developments.

Pin It

The Merritt Centennials announced this morning that they've acquired forward Deegan Mofford (01) from the West Kelowna Warriors in exchange for future considerations.

Hailing from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Mofford is built like a Rocky Mountain House at 6'3 and 220 pounds. The right hander has a heavy shot that can find the back of the net at even strength and on the powerplay. Last season in the regular season and playoffs after coming over from the Kelowna Rockets, Mofford tallied 11 goals and 9 assists in 33 games. Of his 11 goals last season 3 came with the man advantage and 1 came shorthanded. Through 5 games of the extended exhibition with the Warriors, Mofford has scored 1 goal and added 3 assists through 5 games.

Head Coach and General Manager Derek Sweet-Coulter says that Mofford is a piece that can fit anywhere in the Cents lineup.

"Deegan is a big, powerful, right handed forward that will fit our home rink very well. He brings a wealth of experience and can play up and down the lineup. He will make our forward group instantly better and we look forward to his contributions on and off the ice in Merritt."

Cents fans could see Mofford in the lineup as early as this Saturday against the Spruce Kings.

Pin It

The Merritt Centennials (1-5) get set for their first back to back and their first ever meeting with the expansion Cranbrook Bucks (3-4-1) tonight.

The Centennials are coming off the heels of a heartbreaker to the Trail Smoke Eaters last night that saw them fall 7-6. The Merritt Centennials pushed the pace and pushed the Smoke Eaters to the brink, but in the end a blip in the second period came back to bite the Cents as they fell 7-6 in Trail. The first period saw the Cents playing some of their best hockey of the preseason. They were putting the pressure on, putting bodies to the ice, and putting pucks in the net. A pair of goals from Talon Zakall saw the game end up level at 2-2 after 1. The Centennials continued the attack in the second period and were pressing for the go ahead goal in for the first 7 minutes. Unfortunately, they couldn't find it and the Smoke Eaters got a gift off an own goal that was credited to Noah Wakeford. Chase Dafoe added another goal within a minute, and then the Centennials took a double-minor and Cody Schiavon was able to score on the powerplay. Before the Centennials could get back to their hard working ways Connor Sweeney added a lazy backhander that picked the top corner over Colton Phillips-Watts and unfortunately for the rookie tender his night was over in favour of Josh Dias. With the goaltender change the Centennials were able to recapture momentum and came back at the Smoke Eaters. Walker Erickson cashed in on a goal, Ben Ward crashed the blue paint for a goal, and Erickson added another late in the frame to make it 6-5 heading to the third. The work boots were on for the third period as well and the Cents were rewarded when Erickson found his third of the night by firing a rebound past Terness to make it 6-6 five minutes into the frame. The Centennials sat back for a while before they tried to pull up their socks for the game winning goal. The game was looking fated for overtime when a 50/50 call went the Smoke Eaters way for goaltender interference. On the powerplay Sweeney was able to add his second of the night and the Smoke Eaters were able to hang on for the win 7-6.

The Cranbrook Bucks are coming off a double-header against the Prince George Spruce Kings and the expansion franchise earned themselves a split. They were able to score a 6-2 stomping in game 1, but the Spruce Kings held them to a 2-1 loss in game 2. The 6-2 victory saw the franchises first hat trick scored by Dane Dowiak, and the Bucks are quickly crafting an identity as a high speed, high skill team, that likes to work their systems and work hard. The Centennials will have to play a tight game to keep them at bay, but may have an advantage when it comes to physical play against the Bucks.

The Centennials will hope that the confidence and belief that they built up last night in Trail follows them through to the contest tonight. The team hit it's high water mark in goals scored, in fact they matched their entire offensives output for the preseason in one game. Walker Erickson had a break out game, and a number of Centennials were in on the offense. If the Cents can capture that feeling in a bottle they will be set for Cranbrook.

The Centennials now have a 6 way tie for the team lead in points with 4. Walker Erickson, Ben Ward, Talon Zakall, Grayson Valente, Jerzy Orchard and Trevor Isaksson all sharing the honor.

The Bucks are led by Dane Dowiak up front with 14 points, Captain Briggs Gamill has 10 points, and Michael Hagen has 9 points.

The teams split the special teams battle with the Cents having the edge on the powerplay, but the Bucks having sway on the penalty kill.

Powerplay:                      Penalty Kill:

Cents - 13.3% (14th)      Cents - 78.1% (12th)

Bucks - 7.7% (16th)        Bucks - 86.1% (5th)

The goaltending duel sees the Cents not knowing what to do after Colton Phillips-Watts was pulled in last night's contest. He's now 1-1 with a .833 SV% and a 4.51 GAA. Josh Dias didn't face much action in relief and is now 0-4 with a .855 SV% and a 4.75 GAA.

The Bucks have a goaltending tandem their looking to nurture as well. Jacob Zacharewicz is 3-1 with a .908 SV%, a 2.36 GAA and 1 shutout while Nathan Airey is 0-2 with an .890 SV% and a 3.98 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said there were many positives to draw from last night.

"We did a great job of coming back, there's a confidence in that room now, there's a belief, if we can carry over this momentum, I like our chances."

The Centennials are hoping that they will go home with a positive in the win column tonight

Puck drop 6pm. 5:45 pregame show on Q101 and BCHLTV with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.

Watch party at Boston Pizza - make your reservation at 378-4222.

 

Pin It

The Merritt Centennials pushed the pace and pushed the Smoke Eaters to the brink, but in the end a blip in the second period came back to bite the Cents as they fell 7-6 in Trail.

The first period saw the Cents playing some of their best hockey of the preseason. They were putting the pressure on, putting bodies to the ice, and putting pucks in the net. Despite Coalson Wolford tallying the opening goal after the Smoke Eaters held the line early in the game, the Cents tied the game on the powerplay. Talon Zakall was able to walk down from the left point, faked the shot, then sniped top corner blocker-side over Terness to level the score at 1. Zack Park was able to sneak past his man on the rush, and beat the defense to the net to make it a 2-1 game for Trail. However, again it was Zakall providing the offense this time with a seeing-eye shot through the bodies in front to find the back of the net and tie the game at 2's. That would be how the first period would end with the Centennials leading on the shot clock 12-9.

The Centennials continued the attack in the second period and were pressing for the go ahead goal in for the first 7 minutes. Unfortunately, they couldn't find it and the Smoke Eaters got a gift off an own goal that was credited to Noah Wakeford. Chase Dafoe added another goal within a minute, and then the Centennials took a double-minor and Cody Schiavon was able to score on the powerplay. Before the Centennials could get back to their hard working ways Connor Sweeney added a lazy backhander that picked the top corner over Colton Phillips-Watts and unfortunately for the rookie tender his night was over in favour of Josh Dias. With the goaltender change the Centennials were able to recapture momentum and came back at the Smoke Eaters. Walker Erickson cashed in on a goal, Ben Ward crashed the blue paint for a goal, and Erickson added another late in the frame to make it 6-5 heading to the third. Shots after 2 were 30-18 Cents.

The work boots were on for the third period as well and the Cents were rewarded when Erickson found his third of the night by firing a rebound past Terness to make it 6-6 five minutes into the frame. The Centennials sat back for a while before they tried to pull up their socks for the game winning goal. The game was looking fated for overtime when a 50/50 call went the Smoke Eaters way for goaltender interference. On the powerplay Sweeney was able to add his second of the night and the Smoke Eaters were able to hang on for the win.

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said there were many positives to draw from, but at the end of the day you can't gift a team 4 goals and expect to win.

"We did a great job of coming back, there's a confidence in that room now, there's a belief, but this is the get it done league not the try hard league, and by giving them some goals in the second period we weren't able to get it done tonight. If we can carry over this momentum, I like our chances tomorrow."

The Merritt Centennials will face off against the Bucks for a 6PM puck drop tomorrow. 5:45 pregame show on Q101 and BCHLTV.

Pin It

The Merritt Centennials (1-4) get set for a rematch against the Trail Smoke Eaters (6-2) tonight.

The Centennials will be looking for revenge, while the Smoke Eaters have played the Prince George Spruce Kings in between meetings. The Cents and Smoke Eaters were in a tight 1-0 game through 40 minutes last Thursday, a large part of the reason was due to the stellar play of Josh Dias. Through 2 periods the Centennials netminder had his head on a swivel and was denying all comers on chance after chance. Trail heavily outshot Merritt through 2 periods of play 25-14 and in the third period it finally started paying dividends. Just 14 seconds into the third the Smoke Eaters were able to sneak one past the guard of Dias and the game slowly unraveled from there. The Centennials took 5 minor penalties in the third period and added 4 misconducts as they were never able to get momentum going for a steady stretch. The Smokies showed no mercy adding 4 goals in the final frame and making it a 5-0 final.

The Smoke Eaters are coming off a tight 2-1 shootout win over the Prince George Spruce Kings on home ice where Zack Feaver scored late in the first frame, before Rowan Miller scored in the second. With no scoring in the third or overtime the game went the distance to the shootout where Chase Dafoe and Feaver added 2 goals to Christian Buono's one to lift the Smoke Eaters over the PG.

The Centennials will look to discover some offense as coming into the contest they have 6 goals over 5 games, and Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter feels the goal scoring needs to come by way of committee as there's no established big gun on the Cents roster. The time on the road with a hotel stay will be a good opportunity for the team to bond, and will be made all the better if they can find a way to come together for some offense and some wins.

The Cents continue to be led by ex-Smoke Eater Trevor Isaksson with 3 points, while Ward, Orchard, and Valente have all tallied a pair.

The Smoke Eaters continue to be led by Connor Sweeney who has 8 points. Connor Michaud and Captain Cody Schiavon have added 6 points, while Dafoe, Disher, and Wakeford all have 5.

The penalty kill for both clubs is strong, but the powerplay could use a little work for both clubs as well.

Powerplay:                   Penalty Kill:

Trail - 11.9% (14th)     Trail - 92.3% (1st)

Cents - 11.1% (15th)  Cents - 82.8% (10th)

The goaltending duel sees Dias getting the lions share of the work but with a back to back situation there's a good chance we will see Colton Phillips-Watts get his second start of the preseason. Dias is 0-4 with a .855 SV% and a 5.01 GAA. Phillips-Watts is 1-0 with a .960 SV% and a 1.00 GAA.

Cayden Hamming scored the win in Merritt and is now 2-1 with a .954 SV% with a 1.34 GAA and 1 shutout. Logan Terness is 4-1 with a .911 SV% and a 2.94 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter is preaching a strong breakout to lead to some more offense.

"What we are seeing on the video is that when we have guys keeping it simple in the neutral zone, and getting a crisp pass out of the defending zone we are having some better looks. We need to keep it simple in our own end and run our lines up the ice."

The Centennials are hoping that they break out to a win tonight.

Puck drop 7pm on BCHLTV.ca and Q101.ca. Pre-game 6:45 with Jared Thomas.

Catch the watch party at Boston Pizza Merritt - make your reservation now by calling 378-4222.

Get your likeness in the building with our Super Fan Cutouts. Send a high-res photo of yourself and a $50 etransfer to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. PLUS at the end of the season the team will sign your cutout.

Pin It