The Merritt Centennials got into a special teams battle with the Powell River Kings, but it would be the even strength game that would set them apart as the Cents fell 6-5.
The first period saw the Cents get the first powerplay of the game, and the first goal of the game. The offense came from a source that has been quiet of late. Nick Granowicz coralled a Matt Kopperud saucer feed in the middle on a hard charge to the net, and made Mitch Adamyk miss with a move to the backhand and beat him down low. The Cents would keep the offense coming with another goal on the powerplay. Rylan Van Unen would turn the puck over at the blue line, and Christian would pick up the loose puck and fire it past Adamyk to make it 2-0. However, Powell River would get the next chance on the powerplay and they'd prove why they are tops in the league convertiing on their first opportunity. Captain Nick Wicks would get in on the offense by finishing off a crash bang play to the net. Joey Berkopec took the original shot that didn't get through, Brendan Schneider found the puck threw it towards net, it didn't get through, and then Wicks found the loose puck and this time it found the back of the net. After one period, shots were 15-12 in favour of the Cents. Vincent Duplessis stopped 11/12 in the period.
Early in the second on a powerplay that carried over from the first, Ryan Brushett would score coming across the line with speed and a quick shot to tie the game at 2's. Late in the frame Brendan Schneider would make it 4-2 by picking up a shot off the end boards and beat Matteo Paeler-Chow who came on in relief of Adamyk after the first period. However, the Kings would would pull within one with just 8 seconds left in the second. Shots after two were 28-20 for the Centennials.
In the third, the Kings would begin to flex their might. Jaydon Lee would score through the crowd from the point to tie the game at 4. Brushett would add another goal on the powerplay for the Kings to take their first lead 5-4. The Cents would answer, once again on the powerplay, but this time Matt Kopperud maneuvered the puck off the half-wall then fired a quick shot mid-glove of Paeler-Chow to make it 5-5. Late in the third, the Kings would get the eventual game winner on a bit of a weak one from the slot that fooled Duplessis from Shmunk. With the Cents pushing for the tie late, Kopperud was hit up high, but instead of the Cents going to the powerplay late - he would be called for embellishment and sent to the box despite bleeding on the play. That would essentially derail the comeback effort and the Cents would fall 6-5.
After the game, Assistant Coach Brandon Shaw said the team worked hard, but couldn't get the late push.
"There were stretches where we were really pushing the pace, but there were those small lapses where we got caught."
The Cents next play the Trail Smoke Eaters in a home-and-home next weekend.