The Merritt Centennials made their final road trip of 2018 worth their while by following a strong opening period to win 5-2 over the Trail Smoke Eaters.
The Cents shook off the road rust early with a goal from Christian Sabin just 4:09 into the game. Brad Cocca floated a cross ice pass to Captain Nick Wicks on the right wing side, and as he skated across the blue line, Sabin drove hard to the net with his stick on the ice and was able to deflect the centering feed past Adam Marcoux to make it 1-0. At the 12:09 mark, after killing off the first Trail powerplay of the game, the Cents would make it 2-0 when rookie Brett Roloson converted a pass from behind the net from Kopperud and fired it bar-down. The Cents would cap off the perfect road period with a heads up hockey play from Nick Granowicz. After gaining the zone on the left-side of the ice he’d simply throw it on net and it found a way to give the Cents a 3-0 lead after one period of play. Vincent Duplessis stopped all 7 shots he faced in the first, while Marcoux allowed 3 on 12 shots.
The second period didn’t see any scoring, and didn’t see many penalties either. However, Duplessis had to stand tall as the Cents were out shot 13-5 in the period.
The final frame started with some fisticuffs. Brady Ziemer dropped the gloves with Captain Braeden Tuck and after getting some good shots in early was wrestled to the ice. Ziemer got an extra minor penalty for his efforts, and the Smoke Eaters would make the Cents play on the powerplay. The Smokies would add another to get right back in the game at 3-2, and the Cents hadn’t mustered much offense to that point in the period. After a good energy shift from the energy line. Payton Matsui found Christian Sabin streaking to the net again, and the 20 year old converted for his second of the game to give the Cents some breathing room 4-2. Nick Granowicz would ice the game with an empty-netter to make it a 5-2 final. Duplessis stopped 30/32 shots while Marcoux stopped 19/24.
ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME: CHASE STEVENSON 2A
3RD STAR: MATT KOPPERUD 2A
2nd STAR: NICK GRANOWICZ 2G 1A
1st STAR: CHRISTIAN SABIN 2G
After the game Head Coach Joe Martin applauded his teams effort after a long bus ride.
“I thought that was our best period of the game. Playing solid at both ends of the ice, and it went a little downhill from there. Still nice to come out with a win.”
The Cents will reset for Trail tomorrow night at the NVMA.