The Merritt Centennials (8-6) will look for a measure of revenge this afternoon against the Cowichan Valley Capitals (2-8-1-1).
The Cents are coming off an offense fueled 8-4 win against the West Kelowna Warriors. Brad Cocca started the game with a wrap around goal just 2 minutes in, but the Warriors quickly seized back momentum with three unanswered goals. After the BCHL media timeout, the Cents got a shot in the arm thanks to the words of Head Coach Joe Martin and stormed back with 3 unanswered of their own including the first in the BCHL from Brady Ziemer, one from Brendan Schneider, and a beautiful goal from Matt Kopperud to lead after one, 4-3. In the second period, both teams added a powerplay marker, and Mathieu Gosselin converted for the Cents to make it 5-4 heading into the third. The Cents offense continued to churn as Brad Cocca scored his second of the game, Vincent Guy sniped his first of the year, and Mike Van Unen added his second in as many games. The Cents went 3/12 on the powerplay in the penalty filled contest, and killed off 4/5 on the penalty kill. Austin Roden picked up his first win in 3 tries, as he really looked to return to form after allowing the third goal against.
The Capitals represent the lone loss for the Cents on the Island road swing last weekend. Austin Roden took the loss, as 3 powerplay goals, and 3 deflections got past him in a 4-2 defeat. Nick Granowicz and Mathieu Gosselin tallied for the Cents in a losing effort, and the team will have to learn from its mistakes in short order. Head Coach of the Capitals, Mike Vandekamp, is a former coach of the Centennials and will have his team ready to play in the smaller confines of the NVMA. The Capitals are a big team that possesses a game that will be well suited to the Cents arena, and are coming off tough matchups against the Penticton Vees and Trail Smoke Eaters this weekend.
The Capitals couldn't hang on to a one goal lead from the second period against the Smoke Eaters falling 6-4 at the Cominco Arena. Last night against Penticton the Caps played an undisciplined brand of hockey with many players ejected from the game and surrendered 13 powerplays. The Vees took advantage for a 4-1 win. It means the Capitals are 0-2 on this weekend road trip and hungry for two points against the Cents.
In the special teams battle the Cents crawl up to a 15.6% conversion rate on the powerplay, good enough for 14th in the league while the Capitals are 11th with 17%. On the penalty kill the Cents improve slightly to 72.5%, but are still last in the league while the Caps are 7th at 83.8%.
The Cents are coming off a strong start from Austin Roden who dusted off some early shakiness to guide the Cents to an 8-4 win. He's now 5-3 with a .877 SV% and a 4.09 GAA. Vincent Duplessis was bested in his last start by the Vees but before that rattled off three wins in a row, he's 3-3 with an .855 SV% and a 3.57 GAA. The Capitals got a solid outing from Matt Waite against the Centennials, he's 1-3 with a 3.42 GAA and a .884 SV%. Jack Grant is 1-6 with a .917 SV% and a 3.02 GAA.
Head Coach Joe Martin knows that the Capitals won't be pushovers in the NVMA.
"Mike Vandekamp has a lot of experience in this building, his team is built for a smaller arena, and their arena on the Island is pretty similar. We have to be ready to play for sure."
The Cents can't afford to underestimate the Capitals on home ice if they want to come away with another win to continue to pace the Interior Division.
Families can take advantage of A&W Family day and a family of 4 can come to the game for just $20. Meet the Root Bear, take part in fun intermission games, bid on raffles that will support MS reseasrch, and let the Cents help make you a combo.
Puck Drop 2pm, Pre-Game 1:45 on Hockey TV and Q101.1FM with Jared Thomas.