The Merritt Centennials had another great effort in front of their home fans in the Nicola Valley, but were unable to halt the Nanaimo Clippers who persevered 4-3.
The first period saw the Centennials start out with a bang as it was Payton Matsui who banged home a bounce in front to make it 1-0 just 50 seconds into play. However, shortly after the goal, the Cents sent the top powerplay in the league to their first advantage and Josh Bourne was able to convert to tie the game. The Cents were able to regain the lead when Josh Kagan found another loose puck to the side of the net to make it 2-1. Thomas Manty set up both first period goals as Tanner Marshall made the start for the Cents. Shots after 1 period of play were 10-9 in favour of the Cents.
The middle frame saw the shoe on the other foot as the Clippers were able to score before the two minute mark when Ethan Scardina found a rebound and poked it past Marshall to tie the game 2-2. Shortly after a parade to the penalty box began. The Cents got not one but two two-man advantages of over a minute a piece and could not convert. The powerplay remains an issue and has gone 0 for their last 37. With all the calls going the Centennials way, the pendulum eventually swung back towards the Clippers and they were able to take advantage again with Kyler Kovich scoring to give Nanaimo the 3-2 lead. The Cents started to come on towards the end of the 2nd, but couldn't find the back of the net. Shots after 2 were 23-17 in favour of the Cents.
The final stanza saw the Centennials try and get back in the game and at the 7:34 mark they were rewarded for their efforts. Troy Quinn found Josh Kagan streaking up the right wing and when he gained the line used the defender as a screen and rocketed a shot top corner blocker side on Zack Bennett to tie the game 3-3. Unfortunately, for the Cents the Clippers regained the lead just over a minute later when Mike Kennedy collected a puck and his wrister had just enough to beat Tanner Marshall through the glove. It would stand up to be the game winning goal as even with a late powerplay and late in the game the net empty the Cents couldn't find the equalizer again. The final shot tally was 41-30 in favour of the Centennials.
After the game, Derek Sweet Coulter said the team had a lot of positives to draw from, but needed to start showing some urgency heading into next week.
"We had a great first period, and showed some great resilience throughout the game. Looking back to the game last night we showed that resilience as well, but looking forward we need to show some urgency to start picking up some points."
The Cents will look to pick up those points against the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday night at the NVMA.
Energy Player of the Game: Matt Osadick
2nd Star: Josh Kagan