The Merritt Centennials offense may not have filled the net to the same degree as they have in the last couple games, but they turned in their best defensive effort of the year and shutout the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 5-0.
The first period saw the Centennials and Silverbacks feel eachother out for the first 10 minutes before Vincent Guy found himself on a two-on-one with Rylan Van Unen. Guy elected to shoot, and found the top corner for the first goal of the game at the 14:26 mark. 3 minutes later, Nick Granowicz was sprung behind the defense, used his body to protect the puck, and then used his skill to out wait Ethan Langenegger with a move to the forehand to tuck it into bed behind the sprawled out netminder. Austin Roden was sensational while his team got into gear as the shots after 1 were 14-13 in favor of the Cents.
The middle stanza saw the Cents playing defence early. The spent a large part of the first 10 minutes killing off penalties including two 2 man advantages, and the last line of defense was solid throughout - Austin Roden. The Cents got their own opportunity late in the second with the extra man, and they converted once, but the goal was called off. They then got a no-doubter off the stick of Mathieu Gosselin who cut out of the corner, and drove hard to the net, flying through the air as he slid the puck five hole on Langenegger for the lone goal of the second period to make it 3-0. Shots after 2 were 26-25 Cents.
In the final frame, the Cents didn't sit back and let the Silverbacks get settled in the offensive zone, they went to the attack and youngster Ben Ward, who has been one of the hardest working Centennials on and off the ice, converted for his first in the BCHL. Then at the 12 minute mark, Granowicz and Van Unen provided a steal in the slot, and Nick Wicks found the rebound and put it home for his first goal since the home opener as the Cents went on to win 5-0.
Austin Roden stopped all 34 shots he faced to earn his first shutout of the season, and third win in a row, while Langenegger stopped 37/42 in a losing effort.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin said it really all came down to one word.
"Compete. That's what our team does well, and what has given us the edge in the last few games."
The Cents look to bring the same compete that's seen them win three in a row against Interior Division rival Wenatchee Wild on Friday night.