The Merritt Centennials and the Vernon Vipers clashed for the first time of the season and after a solid start fell by a score of 5-2.
The first period saw the Vipers strike early as a shot from the blueline, bounced back onto the stick of Keigo Hachishuka to make it 1-0 under a minute into the period. The Vipers got another goal from Matt Kowalski on an odd man rush to make it 2-0. Then the Centennials came to play spurred on by their newly minted Captain Rylan Van Unen. Set up by his younger brother Josh, Rylan came wheeling down the left wing side, beat his man with speed to the outside, and slid one low past the left pad of Palago to make it 2-1. Thomas Manty equalized late in the first with a lazer from the left-side half wall that Palaga got a huge chunk of, but the blast had enough on it to get through him and tie that game 2-2. Shots after 1 were 11-10 in favour of the Cents.
The middle frame saw the Vipers begin to pull away. Under 2 minutes in Ryan Shostak of the Vipers tallied to give the Vipers the lead. Then they got a goal from Connor Marritt and another from Shostak to make it 5-2 after 2. Shots were 30-19 Vipers after 2.
The third period saw the teams show how late it was on the night. Not a whole of pucks were directed on net in the final frame. The Cents had a couple chances, but nothing to show for it and the score after 2 would stand up to be the final. Final shots were 34-25 Vernon.
After the game Assistant Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said he liked the effort early on, but the team needs to make some minor adjustments.
"With all the complications with the bus, I really liked our effort in the first. I feel like we still need to clean up some little things defensively, and continue to learn from every game."
The Cents look to right the ship against the Nanaimo Clippers tomorrow night at the NVMA. Puck drop 7pm.