The Cents are coming off a light week of action as they only played one game during the Thanksgiving Day long weekend. A friday tilt against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in which they lost 7-4. The scoreline was a lot more flattering than the game, as it was 7-1 before the Centennials scored 3 goals in the final 5 minutes of play. Two of those goals came in the final minute. While it’s encouraging that the Cents can score in bunches, they’ll look to do so tonight before the game gets out of hand.
That loss was also the first time Jake Berger has been chased from the net. He's been one of the Cents shining stories throughout the season, giving the team opportunities to win in every game, and after giving up 7 goals was pulled in favour of AP call up Jared Breitkruz. The Cents will look for him to return to form, and play a little stronger in front of him to prevent easy goals around the net on second opportunities.
This is already the third and final matchup of the season between these clubs. The Cents don't need a long memory to relive the loss they received at the BCHL Showcase in mid September 4-3, a game that was very much within reach. However, The Spruce Kings will come in with a bitter taste in their mouths after the Cents handed them a 5-2 loss in the last game the two teams played on October 1st. The Cents were able to take advantage of the powerplay in the third period of that contest after the teams were tied at 2 after two. Joey Berkopec and Brendan Schneider were able to convert on the powerplay, while Jack Vincent added another to get the three goal win.
Since that meeting the Spruce Kings are 1-1, splitting a double header against the Surrey Eagles last weekend, and are 2-3 in their last 5 games. The Cents have the same record in the last 5 games after their first 3 wins came in the same week.
The Spruce Kings are led offensively by Ethan De Jong, Dustin Manz, Ben Poisson, Ben Brar, and Patrick Cozzi up front who all have at least 10 points. They’re also led by two rookies on the back end, Layton Ahac and Dylan Anhorn along with Liam Watson Brawn who all have more than 8 points. By Comparison, the Cents only have two players with more than 8 points, Henry Cleghorn and Nick Wicks. However, the Cents have been scoring by committee with only 2 players not yet on the scoresheet this year, Mattias Dal Monte and Matt Kopperud.
Special Teams may be where the game is won and lost yet again as both teams are tight in that regard. The Spruce Kings have the edge in both categories 80% on the penalty kill, and 17.5% on the powerplay, while the Cents are 15% on the powerplay and 78% on the penalty kill.
The Cents will look to get back into the win column tonight in Prince George at 7pm. Pre Game with Jared Thomas at 6:45: 101.1 on the FM dial, online at q101.ca, or on the Q101 Merritt App.