The Merritt Centennials had to survive an onslaught of physical play for the Langley Rivermen, but in the end they persevered by a score of 4-1.
The game started with some innocent chirping, but it quickly disintegrated into a penalty parade. Despite that only 4 penalties were handed out in the first period. The Cents got a full 2 minute man advantage late in the period but couldn't convert, but on their second opportunity with the PP they would. Matt Kopperud attempted to force a back door pass to Nick Granowicz, but it deflected off a Langley defender right onto the stick of Nick Wicks who took the quick shot to make it 1-0. A minute later Wicks would find himself with the puck on his stick again, from his own zone, he deked a defender at his own blue line on the right side before streaking up ice, then dangled between two Rivermen and poked it past Flemming to make it 2-0. Vincent Duplessis made 8 saves in the first to keep Langley at bay.
The middle frame saw the game take a bit more of a nasty turn. 12 minors / misconducts were handed out in the 2nd period, but no PP goals were scored. The Rivermen managed the only goal of the second period, scoring just after a powerplay expired. Through two periods, Duplessis turned aside 19/20 shots.
The Cents went to work early in the third, but Duplessis had to put in some work first. Vinny absolutely stone-walled a Rivermen forward on a shorthanded breakaway, and it led to a chance the other way for Merritt. Jackson Munro worked it up for Mathieu Gosselin who found Kopperud who sniped one past Flemming to make it 3-1. The Duplessis save really changed the story line of the game as a minute later on another powerplay Mattias Dal Monte blasted in a shot from the point to make it 4-1. The rest of the way the Cents survived the rest of Langley's antics. Dal Monte had enough as the final minute arrived and dropped the gloves with Riley Wallack and they had a spirited tussle. The Cents hung on to win 4-1 in regulation. Duplessis stopped 28 shots for the Cents in just their second regulation win in 2019, but they've now picked up points in their 11th game in a row.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin said he expected a little bit of rough stuff from Langley but not that much.
"I had heard that they'd changed a little bit so I wasn't quite expecting that. But I thought we did a good job on the powerplay even though we were up and down. Duplessis played great, and we tried not to play their game."
Next up for the Merritt Centennials is a match on Wednesday against the Wenatchee Wild at the NVMA.
ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Brendan Schneider 0G 0A 2PIM
3RD STAR: Matt Kopperud 1G 1A
2ND STAR: Nick Wicks 2G 0A
1ST STAR: Vincent Duplessis 27/28