Merritt Centennials
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The Cents were looking for their first win against the Vees in over a year, and will have to continue waiting as they fell 6-2 at the SOEC on Wednesday night.

The Centennials were playing the perfect road game until penalty trouble late in the first opened the game up. Vincent Guy went off for elbowing at the 16:38 mark, and Ryan Sandelin of the Vees quickly followed suit, but 4-on-4 the Vees would strike for the first goal of the game off a centering feed to Luke Sillinger. Jaydon Fetter was called for a spearing double-minor at the 17:43 mark putting the Cents in a rare 4-on-3 situation. Mike Van Unen would make it worse when he went off for slashing 10 seconds later, and then the Vees went to work with the extra man. Sandelin scored after coming out of the box to make it a two- man advantage and then Conner Hutchison added another to make it 3-0 before the end of the first. Vincent Duplessis stopped 11/14 in the first while Jack Lafontaine stopped all 6 shots he faced.

The second period saw the Cents take steps forwards, and back as the penalties continued but no one found the back of the net in the second. Through two Duplessis stopped 23/26 and Lafontaine hadn’t let any by of the 11 the Cents threw on net.

The Cents came out more determined in the third and were rewarded early when Mike Van Unen scored his first of the year. A play off the rush that saw Nick Wicks, drop it back for Brad Cocca who unleashed a shot that let out a large rebound that Van Unen cleaned up. However, with the Cents pushing at the tail end of a powerplay, they were caught pinching at the line and James Miller skated in uninhibited for a breakaway goal. Hutchison would add another on the powerplay before the rough stuff began. Christian Sabin dropped the mitts and thumped Lagerstrom of the Vees into submission with repeated rights. The fight energized both benches, but it paid dividends for the Cents as the Vees turned it over off an incoming hit to Matt Kopperud in the slot, and he dangled in and went back hand forehand past a sprawling Lafontaine to make it 5-2. Miller would silence the comeback trail with another goal on the partial breakaway to make it 6-2. Duplessis stopped 39/45 shots while LaFontaine stopped 19/21.

After the game Head Coach Joe Martin said that the team showed resilience despite calls not going their way.

“I think this team showed themselves that they have a whole other gear to work with. When the chips are down they can really find another level.”

The Cents will look to find that other level on Friday night when they return home to take on the Warriors. Puck Drop 7pm from the NVMA.

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