The Merritt Centennials were playing with many regulars out of the lineup, and the bench got shorter towards the end of the game with fights, as the Langley Rivermen came out on top 4-0.
In a game that didn’t have any bearings on the standings for the Cents, they were also short a number of their regulars. Tyrell Buckley is out with injury, but Jackson Munro and Joey Berkopec were out of the game sick. The Cents skated with 4 d-men and Zach Zorn even came back to help out on the back end.
The lone goal of the first went to the Rivermen Captain Brendan Budy who scored on a 2-man advantage from the high slot with a crowd in front. It was the only one that got by Jacob Berger as he made 15/16 saves.
In the second, the Rivermen were held off the scoresheet until late, when John Wochiechowski found Angus Crookshank on a partial 2-on-1 and Crookshank made the quick move to the forehand to put it past a lateral moving Berger.
The third saw the Rivermen convert early, this time Budy had the puck go off his booty and flutter over Berger after it was thrown at the net waist high.
A few minutes later the Rivermen’s Ethan Leyh was driving wide, and down low, his feed to the slot got past everyone and back to the right point where Carter Stephenson unloaded a one-timer through the five hole of Berger.
In the final ten minutes of the game the rough stuff started. Zach Zorn dropped the gloves with Nick Ponak and the two had a spirited tussle before Ponak scored the takedown. Not to be outdone, Christian Sabin threw down against Alec Capstick minutes later, and scored perhaps the most convincing Cents win in terms of a tango this year.
The damage was already done however, and Langley held on for the 4-0 win.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Joe Martin felt the team showed character.
“I felt we gave a good effort, down a few regulars, players stepped up, Zorn volunteered to play defense, and battled through. That third goal early in the period was a bit unlucky for us, but other than that we were right there.”
The Cents will now look forward to the first round of the playoffs where they’ll encounter the Wenatchee Wild. Game 1 goes Thursday from the Wolf Den in Wenatchee.
Stay tuned to Q101 for details about the schedule, year end awards, and more analysis.