The Merritt Centennials got the better of the Wenatchee Wild for the first time in the young season, and end the month of September on a high note after winning in overtime 2-1.
Tanner Marshall led the team out of the gate to start the 1st and early on was a difference maker with a couple key saves. The first period and really the game was very free wheeling through the neutral zone, but tight checking in the respective offensive zones and it resulted in very few shots, but the ones that did get through the goalies had to be sharp on. The Cents and Wild were scoreless until a late penalty in the first gave Wenatchee’s leading scorer Caferelli an opportunity to set up Brian Adams in front. The Wild took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes with shots just 11-7 in favour of Wenatchee.
It didn’t take long to get the party started in the 2nd period as Spencer Schneider would score his first goal in the BCHL just 15 seconds into the frame on a wrap around try that had just enough to beat Chenard past the post. With the game tied at 1’s the Cents really tried to look for the go ahead through the early goings of the 2nd, but couldn’t buy one for trying. Shots after 2 were just 15-15 as both teams were playing tight defensively and blocking a lot of rubber before it hit the net.
The third period didn’t solve anything despite some solid end to end play. The scariest moment came when the Cents had to kill off a 4 minute double minor to newcomer Josh Kagan. After the kill, the teams cautiously traded chances until the final buzzer. Shots after 60 minutes were 23-21 for the Wild.
In overtime it was Tanner Marshall who should get credit for keeping the team in it early on. A couple big chances by the Wild were stopped with the netminders desperation saves. One of those saves bounced to Brett Roloson who skated the puck cross ice and cautiously into the zone with a hard charging Joey Berkopec going to the net with his stick on the ice. Roloson threaded the perfect saucer pass to Berkopec in stride and Berkopec beat Chenard upstairs for the game winner.
After the game, Assistant Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said it was a turning point game for the team.
“I felt it was really the first game we saw the bench get behind eachother. You could feel the positivity, and that’s infectious.”
It sets the stage for a couple big rivalry matchups against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the Trail Smoke Eaters at the BCHL Showcase.
ENERGY PLAYER: Matt Osadick 0G 0A
3rd STAR: Spencer Schneider 1G 0A
2nd STAR: Tanner Marshall 24/25 Saves
1st STAR: Joey Berkopec 1G