The Merritt Centennials (6-15-1-0) welcome the Prince George Spruce Kings (10-13-2-3) to the NVMA tonight.
The Centennials are coming off a weekend split where they had their best period of the season against the Surrey Eagles, but one of their worst overall performances the night previous against the Victoria Grizzlies. The Cents came into last weekends action feeling pretty good after taking 3 of 4 points from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, but they couldn't convert the swagger into energy on the ice against Victoria. The Cents found themselves in a 2 goal hole early, and couldn't dig themselves out in the game. Hunor Torzsok scored his first goal as a Cent, Talon Zakall scored his second of the season, and Josh Kagan stayed hot for the Cents but ultimately the team would fall 6-3 to the Grizz. The following afternoon against the Eagles, it looked like the Cents had run into a hot goaltender after being held off the score sheet for 2 periods of play. However, in the third the Cents offense finally broke through. By crashing and banging in front of the net, Kagan was able to quickly flip a puck up high over Shell, then Wyatt Marlow tallied his second goal of the year on the rush, Jake McLean scored his first as a Cent, then Kagan would snipe one top corner short-side before adding an empty netter as the Cents scored 5 goals in the third to march all the way back to win.
The Spruce Kings are coming in after seeing a two game win streak snapped by the Nanaimo Clippers earlier in the week. The game was a tight 2-1 defeat. Earlier in the week they won 4-3 against Alberni Valley and 5-2 against the lowly West Kelowna Warriors. In their last 5 the Spruce Kings are 2-2-1 as are the Centennials.
These teams met twice in the pre-season. Prince George won their game on home ice, and the Cents were able to get past the Spruce Kings at the NVMA in thrilling shootout fashion.
The Cents continue to be paced by Josh Kagan who is now just outside the league's top 20 with 24 points. Payton Matsui and Daniel Tkac aren't far behind with 16 points each.
Nick Poisson leads the way for Prince George with 30 points, and is 11th league wide. Chong Min Lee has 24 points, and Corey Cunningham has potted 22.
The special teams battle favors PG, but the PK for the Cents has looked good in the last few games.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents - 6.3% (17th) Cents - 73.2% (15th)
PG - 19.4% (8th) PG - 77.6% (12th)
The battle in the blue paint sees Tanner Marshall looking to rebound with a 3-7 record, an .877 SV%, and a 4.55 GAA. Ryan Winter is 2-8-1 with a .910 SV% and a 3.75 GAA.
Jett Alexander is the goaltender of record from the Prince George Spruce Kings with a 10-11-1 record, a .911 SV%, and a 2.67 GAA. The Cents may see a familiar face on the other side of the ice as Carter Woodside has been signed by the Spruce Kings. He is 1-0 with a .892 SV% and a 3.00 GAA.
Derek Sweet Coulter says the Cents need to keep moving forward.
"We are seeing the process starting to yield results now, we just need to keep working at it, and keep getting better."
The Cents will look to march towards the win tonight.
Puck Drop 7pm from the NVMA. Pre-Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve on Q101.
Be sure to be at the game and pick up a program as Snap on Tools is giving you a chance to shoot to win for $500, and if the Cents score in the first 25 seconds of the 3rd period Persistence Training Centre is giving you a chance to win $10,000!
(Photo credit – Garrett James)
It’s been another crazy week of change for the Merritt Centennials.
One week ago, Brett Roloson, Colton Sun and Spencer Schneider were all Cents. Now, all three are gone and in their place comes Christian Buono from Powell River, and Jerzy Orchard and Braydon Clark from the WHL.
If you go back a touch farther, players like Jake Mclean and Honur Torzsok, who have combined for 10 games in red and black, are suddenly not the ‘new guys’ on the squad anymore.
“You just have to make them feel welcome, they’re a little quiet at first. Hunor, for example, was here two weeks ago and he’s already part of the team. It won’t take long for these guys to fit in,” said Thomas Manty.
Thomas has been able to provide some much-needed secondary scoring for Merritt. In fact, he claims the title as the leading rookie scorer on the Cents with five goals and five helpers.
“I’ve been a goal scorer for most of my life, obviously it’s a lot harder playing in this league, but whenever I can contribute, try to put the puck in the back of the net or help somebody else do it,” said Thomas.
Jared Thomas has coined the M-N-M line with Manty playing beside Chase Nameth and Wyatt Marlow.
“We talk a lot; we think communication has been the biggest piece. We’re three different style players and I think we use that to our advantage,” said Thomas. “Coach is trying to implement (playing the body) into my game, and I’m trying to.”
As for the much-maligned Cents powerplay, Thomas believes cleaning up their zone entries could be the winning formula.
Overall, Thomas spoke to great feeling around the room and on the ice.
“The message overall the past month or so, it’s trending upwards. Everyone is trying to be on the same page, and something seems to be working. I think we’re trending upwards and everyone in the locker room is trying to buy-in and that’s what we need,” said Thomas.
This weekend the Cents have a double-dip at the NVMA starting with Prince George tonight, followed by Wenatchee on Saturday. Puck drop for both contests is 7 pm, catch the pregame show with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve starting at 6:45.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
The Merritt Centennials have performed a pair of trades to bring them within the roster limit ahead of this weekends action. The Cents have sent defenseman Colton Sun (01) to the Selkirk Steelers of the SJHL in exchange for future considerations. They also dealt forward Spencer Schneider (00) to the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL in exchange for a player development fee.
Sun appeared in 12 games for the Centennials registering 1 assist. Schneider got into 20 games tallying 4 points.
The moves come after the team acquired forward Jerzy Orchard and defender Braydon Clark from the WHL earlier in the week.
The Centennials wish both Sun and Schneider the best in their hockey futures, and thank them for the time they spent in the community and the Nicola Valley.
The Merritt Centennials have announced the signing of Braydon Clark (02) from the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL.
A Langley, BC native, Clark, checking in at 5’10 and 175 pounds, got into 11 games with the Raiders where he was held off the score sheet in limited action. The right-handed shot has been playing in the BC Major Midget League for the past two years registering 10 goals, 15 points and 374 penalty minutes over 47 games.
Director of Hockey Operations John Stuart says that Clark will bring sandpaper and compete into the lineup.
“Clark is a young, right-handed D-man that is a fearless competitor, a great defender and is tough as nails. He is willing to pay the price to make a play, is there for his teammates and is excited to join the team and have an opportunity.”
Clark will make his Centennials debut this weekend as the Cents take on the Spruce Kings and the Wild at home.
The Merritt Centennials have acquired Jerzy Orchard (01) from the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.
Orchard joins the Cents once again after his first stint with the team resulted in a bus ride down to Coquitlam, but he never would dress for the game. Orchard's WHL rights were dealt from the Kamloops Blazers to the Saskatoon Blades on the trip, and he was held out of action.
The Delisle, Saskatoon native appeared in 41 games for the Kamloops Blazers last season registering a goal and 2 assists, and also appeared in 5 playoff games where he recorded one assist. Used in primarily an energy role he also tallied an assist in 11 games with the Saskatoon Blades this season.
Director of Hockey Operations John Stuart says that Orchard is a player he's excited to add.
"Jerzy is a player I have followed for two years in Kamloops. He brings the things we want in a Centennials player: he's extremely hard working, has a high hockey IQ, and plays with a little sandpaper. He has a great attitude, has leadership qualities, and is a team first player. The team is very excited to have him."
Orchard will get his first chance to play in a Cents uniform, again, this weekend against the Spruce Kings and Wild.