Merritt Centennials
Q101 is the Home of the Cents!

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The Centennials had their first lead after a period of play against the Coquitlam Express, but couldn't follow it up in the final 40 minutes and fell 6-3.

The first period saw the Cents surge early, but when things got a little hectic with end to end action the Express were the first team to capitalize. Ryan Tattle scored 5 minutes in to beat Tanner Marshall for the first goal of the game. The Cents were able to answer back when Chase Nameth barged to the front of the net and created a loose puck for Daniel Tkac, who sniped one top corner with a quick release. Matt Osadick got credit for the go ahead goal after a faceoff in the offensive zone was won back to Clay Stevenson and snuck past him to make it 2-1. Shots after 1 were 14-14.

Late in the first period, Rylan Van Unen took a high sticking penalty, and early in the second Troy Quinn went off for boarding giving the most lethal powerplay in the BCHL a two-man advantage. The Cents got burned by Adam Trotman after some puck movement around the horn to tie the game at 2's just a minute 44 into the period. Danny Pearson regained the lead for the express just over a minute later, and with Van Unen in the box again for high sticking the Express got another one from Noah De Lah Durantaye to make it 4-2. In the latter half of the period the Cents got a 2-man advantage of their own, it built momentum, but the Cents couldn't cash in before the period was out. Shots after 2 were 27-26 in favour of the Express.

The final frame saw the Cents trying to come back from a two-goal deficit, but within the opening minute they'd go to the penalty kill once more. However, it wasn't until the middle of the frame that the Express would extend the lead with Lapointe making it 5-2. Payton Matsui would bring the Cents within 2, but the Express would answer right back to make it a 6-3 final. Final shots were 39-33 in favour of the Express with Tanner Marshall stopping 33 in the loss. Despite the goals against, Marshall played a solid game in net and came up with some massive saves throughout the night.

After the game, Assistant Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said the Cents need to simplify their game.

"I think when we get the defensemen turned and we are chipping the pucks to open areas where we can win the battles is when we are best. We just need to make sure we are winning the battles."

The Cents will try and regroup on Saturday at the NVMA against the Wenatchee Wild - puck drop 7pm.

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