The Merritt Centennials got a dominant display from their top line en route to a 4-1 win against the West Kelowna Warriors.
The game had just begun when Nick Granowicz found a rebound to the side of the net off a Mathieu Gosselin try and banged it home for his 32nd goal of the season just 43 seconds into the period.
The Cents survived a couple powerplays immediately after the goal before getting another one at the midway point of the period. After a face-off loss by the Centennials, Talon Zakall had an excellent pinch at the right point, through it cross-ice for Granowicz, and he one-touched in front for Gosselin who tapped it five-hole to complete the tic-tac-toe play to give the Cents the 2-0 lead.
The Cents took a penalty late in the period, that gave the Warriors a chance to get within one after a Mike Hardman goal to make it a 2-1 hockey game after 1 period of play.
The second period went scoreless as Austin Roden stood tall in the pipes for the Centennials. His efforts were rewarded in the 3rd period.
The Cents started to slowly pull away in the final frame, slowly building momentum until Brad Cocca broke open the game. Cocca got a feed in the blue paint and was able to elevate the puck from in tight up and over Hopkins to make it 3-1.
The Cents got a series of powerplays as the Warriors started to get undisciplined and Mathieu Gosselin was able to add his 2nd of the night and join the 20 goal club. Gosselin dangled in the on the left side and then sniped one from the sharp angle, shot-side, up and over Hopkins shoulder and in to make it 4-1.
Austin Roden stopped 38/39 shots throughout the game, as the Cents pulled even with the Penticton Vees in the Interior Division standings. However, Penticton has a game in hand.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin said that the Cents continue to work on discipline.
“I felt there were two calls that we didn’t really need to take, and one of them ended up in our net. In the playoffs, you can’t afford to take those liberties, you don’t want to be the one in the box when it ends in a goal.:
ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lukas Cullen
3rd STAR OF THE GAME: Brad Cocca 1G 2A
2nd STAR OF THE GAME: Nick Granowicz 1G 1A
1st STAR OF THE GAME: Mathieu Gosselin 2G 1A