The Merritt Centennials (2-8) look to snap their 3 game losing skid tonight against the visiting Nanaimo Clippers (7-3-0-1).
The Cents are coming off a late start to last nights game after bus trouble kept them stranded in Merritt until 5pm, but they eventually hit the road and made it in time to face the Vernon Vipers. The Cents were able to battle back from an early 2 goal deficit with goals from newly minted Captain Rylan Van Unen, and Thomas Manty to tie the game at 2 after 20 minutes. However, the Vipers came to play in the second period, and answered with three goals to storm out to a 5-2 lead. The 3rd period was evenly matched, but both teams were starting to show the effects of playing well into the 10 o'clock hour as they mustered only 10 shots combined on net, and the 5-2 score stood up as the final.
The Nanaimo Clippers come into this game red hot as they are winners of their last 5 straight games. Last night they made the tough road trip to Prince George and came out with the victory in the shootout 5-4. They impressed at the BCHL Showcase winning 6-2 over the Surrey Eagles and 5-1 over the Victoria Grizzlies before coming home and topping the Powell River Kings 3-0. The Cents will look to play spoiler tonight against the surging Island Division team.
Rylan Van Unen looked solid after joining Brett Roloson and Daniel Tkac on one of the most dangerous lines on the night. However, it's still Josh Kagan that leads the way offensively with 8 points, Daniel Tkac has 7, and Roloson has 6.
The Clippers are led by their Captain Ethan Scardina who is fresh off earning BCHL Player of the Week honors and sits at number 10 in league scoring with 15 points. Joshua Bourne has 10 points and Trevor LeDonne has put up 9.
The special teams battle sees the Cents looking to break their slump on the powerplay as they are 0/29 and have not scored since September 20th with the extra man. The Clippers have been a force with their special teams play over the early season.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents - 10% (16th) Cents - 72.9% (15th)
Clippers - 26.7% (1st) Clippers - 90.9% (2nd)
In net the Centennials are waiting for someone to get hot. Ryan Winter is 1-6 with a .900 SV% and a 4.03 GAA. Tanner Marshall is looking rebound after getting pulled in his last start and is 1-2 with a .855 SV% and a 4.83 GAA.
The Clippers sport a solid goaltending tandem. Jordan Naylor is 4-1 with a .949 SV% and a 1.58 GAA. Zachary Bennett is 2-2 with a .943 SV% and a 1.78 GAA.
Assistant Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the Cents will have to play some tight checking defense to skate with the Clippers.
"We'll need to manage our gap in the neutral zone well. Keep skaters to the outside and away from the royal road down the middle."
The Cents will look to skate to the win tonight.
Puck Drop 7pm. Pre-Game 6:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas.
A reminder to sign up for the teams weekly online 50/50 that's now sitting at $940! Sign up here: https://centsweekly5050.thelottofactory.com/