The BCHL regular season is officially underway with teams across the province beginning their new campaigns this weekend. For the Merritt Centennials, everything kicked off yesterday evening against their foes from south of the border the Wenatchee Wild.
When all was said and done, it was 3-1 Wenatchee victory, but the scoreboard only ever tells part of the story. We’ll dive deeper, in this weekend's quick hits.
Freshly appointed starting netminder Ryan Winter continued to impress in the blue paint despite the loss. Early on, Winter gave up a couple of juicy rebounds but was able to settle in, much like in the final preseason contest, and keep his boys in the contest. Winter made 35 stops including a few for his highlight reel.
With a doubleheader next weekend I expect backup Dylan Kosik to see his first game action of the year in one of the two games.
Special teams continue to execute. The powerplay has been on fire, scoring 7 times in 9 attempts, dating back to the preseason. The unit clicked again early for the Cents vs Wenatchee finding twine for the opening salvo when Vincent Guy went skate to stick to the back of the net to open the scoring.
The PK as been just as special, limiting the Wild to only 1-5. Including the preseason, the Cents are averaging one goal against on the kill per game, despite giving their opponents plenty of opportunities.
The ‘line formally known as energy’ consisting of Daniel Tkac, Brett Roloson and Vincent Guy continued to impress, showing what familiarity and chemistry can do.
Olsen Werenka, who boxes in the offseason, showed he’s not a player to be trifled with. Early in the final stanza, Werenka laid a huge open-ice hit, then promptly stood up for himself, dropping the mitts and winning by unanimous decision.
Five on five hockey.
Merritt has not scored an even straight goal in 10 full periods of hockey. While the specials teams have been clicking, even strength has been an issue and one that will need to be resolved.
Your next chance to see the Cents at the NVMA is next weekend, Friday vs Penticton and Saturday vs Victoria.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt