The Centennials are back in action tonight after a long week off. It's their first game at home since an October 29th contest against the West Kelowna Warriors where they won 5-1. They hope to continue their winning ways at home, as they're coming off a loss last week against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks that left a sour taste in their mouths losing 5-3 after heading into the 3rd period with a 3-2 lead.
The Cents won't get an easy pass tonight as the Vernon Vipers are currently the Interior Division and league leaders with 36 points. They won their last game 3-2 in double overtime against the West Kelowna Warriors, and before that lost a 4-1 matchup against Penticton, however, before that loss to Penticton they were unbeaten in their last 7 dating back to October 21.
Head Coach and General Manager Joe Martin knows that the matchups won't be easy for his squad.
"The Vipers have a very deep forward group, they have good defensemen, and they have two good goaltenders. There's no line that you can take advantage of."
The last time these two teams faced each other was back in the third game of the season. Vernon ended up taking the game with Niko Karamanis getting credit for both goals, and Keyvan Mokhtari getting 2 assists. Ty Taylor earned the shutout.
The Cents are much improved since the early season, but the Vipers have also bettered themselves. Despite the point gap in the standings, on special teams the battle is much closer. On the powerplay, the Vipers edge the Cents by .2% with a 21.7% conversion rate compared to the Cents 21.5%. The teams 4th and 5th respectively on the powerplay. And on the penalty it's the Cents who hold the slight edge with an 81% kill rate compared to the 80.9% of the Vipers. It's also a battle of league leaders when it comes to short handed goals, the Vipers have 9 while the Cents are just behind them with 7.
In net, the Vernon Vipers have the edge with the best goaltending tandem in the BCHL. Anthony Yamnisty and Ty Taylor both have solid numbers and wins in their columns. Yamnisty has the edge statistically with a 6-4-0-1 record and a 2.13 GAA to go along with a 92.8 save percentage and 1 shutout. Taylor has the edge in wins however as he's only tasted defeat once with a 10-1-0-3 record, a 2.26 GAA, and a 91.8 save percentage and 2 shutouts.
The Cents will turn to their tandem of Jake Berger and Austin Roden. Berger no longer the league leader in minutes played as he's been surpassed by Braedon Flemming, but has a record of 7-10-2-0 with a 91.3 save percentage a 3.15 GAA and one shutout. The recently acquired Austin Roden has one tie in action with the Cents a 3-3 affair against the team that will visit tomorrow night, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. In that game, he was sensational in the first period where the Cents were outshot 17-4, he finished with 37 saves on 40 shots and 3 goals against.
The Cents will try to play spoiler to the best team in the league when they visit the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena tonight at 7pm. Pre Game Show at 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1 FM, or stream on your desktop or device at q101.ca.