The Merritt Centennials found themselves searching for the equalizer late, on the powerplay, Roden on the bench, but couldn’t get the equalizer they needed. The Coquitlam Express squeaking out a 3-2 victory that they built up in the first two period.
The first period saw the teams trade goals, but once again it was the Express finding the mark on the powerplay. Jack Graham got his first of the season from just outside the blue paint, putting it five hole past Austin Roden who got the start tonight.
Merritt would find the equalizer late in the period at the 15:56 mark with Matthieu Gosselin circling around the net on the right side, feeding it out to the slot to Chase Bell, who went across the crease to Henry Cleghorn who batted it home on his second attempt for his 16th of the season to tie it at one.
The second was filled with penalties, but no one converted on them. The Express would be the only team to find the board with 2 goals a 1:10 apart late in the second. Troy Robillard had the first off a goal mouth scramble, where Roden made two huge saves before surrendering on the third, and shortly after Lucas Wong found the puck loose in the high slot and beat Roden low-blocker side.
The Cents pushed hard for the equalizer in the third, throwing everything they had at Stevenson and more shots (12) in the period than they had in the game (10) up to that point.
Brad Cocca would get the Cents to within one when he came flying across the crease, and dove onto a Nick Wicks feed from the wall. The sprawling goal came with 15 more minutes to play in the 3rd, but the Cents couldn’t get the equalizer.
Matt Kopperud had two chances ring off the post in the game, and Stevenson was able to handle the rest.
After the game, Joe Martin said two lapses in play was the turning point.
“We have two mental breakdowns, one in the neutral zone, one in the high slot, and when you can’t convert on your chances your mind drifts back to that.”
The road doesn’t get any easier, as next up are the league leading Vernon Vipers on Friday night in Vernon at 7pm.