The Centennials got a solid effort from start to finish using their team speed to their advantage to pull off a 4-2 win over the Smoke Eaters in Game 1.
The first period started with a bang. The Cents were looking great right off the hop and tested Smokies starter Donovan Buskey with a couple early chances. Unfortunately, the Cents weren't able to convert on their early opportunities, and the Smokies were able to cash in on their first chance of the period after a scramble behind the net was thrown out front to Kent Johnson who sniped one blocker-side high on Austin Roden to make it 1-0 for Trail. Shots after 1 were 13-11 in favour of the Cents.
In the middle frame the Cents came out of the gate with some pep again, and this time they were rewarded. Just 22 seconds into the second, Nick Wicks played back to Matt Kopperud at the top of the left circle, and Kopperud went glove high and it had enough power to roll over Buskey's glove and in to tie that game 1-1.
Midway through the period, the Cents got their third chance on the powerplay and made good. Brendan Schneider found Mike Van Unen at the line, and he unloaded a howitzer that found its way top corner to give the Cents their first lead of the game 2-1.
Late in the period, from nearly the same spot as the opening of the period Kopperud spun off the left side wall, and form the top of the circle sniped one through the crowd top corner glove on Buskey to give the Cents a two-goal lead 3-1.
The two goal lead wouldn't last long as with just 30 seconds to go in the 2nd, Diarmad Dimurro loosed a shot from the line that was deflected by Ghirardosi and in to make it 3-2. Shots after 2 were 24-19.
The third period saw the Cents return to their speed game, and they spent much of the period in the offensive zone. Before the Smoke Eaters could make a push to tie the game, Nick Granowicz stole the puck off a Smokies defender, cut in ahead a step, and made a sharp move backhand, forehand, upstairs to give the Cents the two goal cushion 4-2.
The Smoke Eaters made a push and pulled the goalie late, but the Cents and Roden held the fort to hang on for the win. Final shots were 37-31 in favour of the Cents.
ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME: BRENDAN SCHNEIDER 0G 2A
3RD STAR: Donovan 33/37
2ND STAR: Austin Roden 29/31
1ST STAR: Matt Kopperud 2G 0A
Game 2 goes tomorrow night from the NVMA. Tickets will be available from 3pm - 6pm at the NVMA box office, puck drop 7pm.