The Merritt Centennials survived an up and down game, but came out on top in the end against the Trail Smoke Eaters 6-4.
The first period started with the Smokies converting on the powerplay on a long shot from Trevor Zins through the crowd. Brendan Schneider tied it up with a deflection of a Mike Van Unen point shot to tie the game 1-1. Owen Ozar regained the lead for Trail after Jaydon Fetter blew a tire as he crossed the blue line, gave it up to Carter Jones, and despite Austin Roden making the initial save the net was empty for Ozar to make it 2-1 after one. Shots were just 9-8 after the first period, and Roden made 7 saves.
The second period started a little stronger for the Centennials as they converted on the powerplay early. Mathieu Gosselin delivered a slap pass on the tape, back door for Nick Granowicz who put it home to tie the game at 2's. For Granowicz it was the goal that brought him to the 30-goal plateau. The Smokies would restore their lead on a powerplay of their own with Braeden Tuck finding a hole through the crowd to make it 3-2. Matt Kopperud would tie the game with a seeing-eye shot from beside the net, that got through Donovan Buskey and tied the game at 3. Shots after 2 were 19-18 in favour of the Smoke Eaters.
In the final frame, the Cents came to play and got an early goal from Payton Matsui off a deflection from a Talon Zakall point shot to make it 4-3 giving the Cents their first lead of the game. Chase Stevenson would level the game catching Roden cheating off the post short side. The Cents got a powerplay midway through the 3rd period, and Nick Granowicz found a soft spot in the high slot, received the feed from Nick Wicks, and sniped one glove side on Buskey to give the Cents the 5-4 lead. Nick Wicks would ice the game with an empty netter in the final minute to make it 6-4.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin said it definitely had a playoff atmosphere.
"It started with the crowd, it finished with our play. We took hits, we converted on the powerplay, and we picked up the win."
The Cents picked up their 2nd win in a row, and go 2 for 2 on the weekend. Next up the West Kelowna Warriors on Tuesday night.
ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Joey Berkopec 2 PIMs
3rd Star: Trevor Zins 1G 1A
2nd Star: Mathieu Gosselin 0G 2A
1st Star: Nick Granowicz 2G 0A