The Merritt Centennials (2-6) get set to take on the team that bounced them from the playoffs last season the Trail Smoke Eaters (3-5-1-0).
The Centennials are coming off a 4-1 defeat in game one of their showcase against former Head Coach Joe Martin and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Brett Roloson tied the game almost 4 minutes into the first, but that would be the only offense the Centennials could supply. Ryan Winter played well in his return to the crease after Tanner Marshall took the reigns for last week's contests. The Bulldogs ended up scoring 3 unanswered, one from former Cent Jackson Munro and an empty netter from Mitch Deelstra to top Merritt in their first chance to impress over 80 NCAA scouts and a good representation from the NHL as well. A number of the Cents still had conversations after the losing effort, but will be looking for a better result this afternoon.
The Trail Smoke Eaters first 3 wins of the season have come in their last 3 games as they are starting to turn the corner after a rough start. They've won 3-0 over the Prince George Spruce Kings in Prince George, 6-2 over the Victoria Grizzlies, and 5-1 over the West Kelowna Warriors. They'll look to stay on the winning path with the Centennials standing in their way.
The Cents are still led by Daniel Tkac and Josh Kagan up front with 7 points, but Brett Roloson is now the hot hand with 6 points.
The Smoke Eaters are led by talented youngster Kent Johnson who has 12 points which is good enough for 14th in the BCHL. Michael Collela has 10 points and Owen Ozar has put up 8.
The special teams battle sees the Cents looking to improve their powerplay as they've been snake bitten for 3 games in a row. The Smoke Eaters are holding steady in the middle of the pack.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Trail - 15.4% (11th) Trail - 84.6% (6th)
Cents - 11% (16th) Cents - 72.7% (14th)
Tanner Marshall will get a chance to prove himself against his former BCHL club. He's coming off an OT victory and he's 1-1 with an .889 SV% and a 3.43 GAA. Should he falter Winter is 1-5 with a .908 SV% and a 3.90 GAA.
Donavan Buskey is 2-4 so far this season with an .875 SV%, a 3.31 GAA and 1 shutout. Logan Terness is the newcomer with a 1-2 record, a .933 SV% and a 2.48 GAA.
The Centennials look to right the ship this afternoon against the Smoke Eaters, and make Trail's chances of putting together 4 wins in a row go up in smoke.
Puck Drop 4pm. Pre-Game 3:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas.
A reminder to sign up for the Centennials weekly online 50/50 here: https://centsweekly5050.thelottofactory.com/