The Centennials got snaked by the Vipers in the final minute of play and fell by a score of 3-2 in Derek Sweet-Coulter's debut as bench boss.
In the first period the teams skated to a scoreless draw, but not for lack of trying. Ryan Winter got the call in net for the Cents, and was called upon numerous times to make huge stops some of the desperation variety. The Vipers also got quality goaltending from Reilly Herbst and shots were 12-11 in favour of Merritt after the first.
The middle stanza saw the Centennials draw their first penalty of the game, and the Vipers and their league worst powerplay was able to convert. Bodies in front and a bounce came free to Connor Marritt who broke the goose eggs and made it 1-0 for the Vipers 4 minutes into the frame. Captain Rylan Van Unen was able to tie the game before the period's halfway mark after him and Brett Roloson streaked down the right wing, and Roloson fed the pass back to set Van Unen up for a rocket farside blocker on Herbst. Youngster Tyson Galloway then recorded his first point in the BCHL when he set up Josh Kagan with the perfect backhand dish on a platter that Kagan potted past Herbst to give the Cents the lead. Payton Matsui had an opportunity on the penalty shot after a hard charge to the net. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to convert on the powerplay after being poke checked by the Vernon netminder. Shots after 2 periods of play were 29-21 in favour of the Vipers.
The final frame saw the Cents weather the Vipers attack, and counter with some solid offensive play with the lead. Unfortunately, a play off a faceoff led to Jackson Caller getting the puck around Winter to tie the game 2-2 halfway through the 3rd. Then with the game winding down, and it looking like overtime was on the horizon the Centennials the Vipers found the heart breaker from newcomer Dawson Holt to make it 3-2. With the net empty the Cents tried to push for the equalizer, but couldn't get traction in the offensive end and 3-2 would be the final. Final shots were 44-31 in favour of the Vipers.
After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said the team played a great game given the circumstances.
"It was an emotional day for everyone. The guys really came out hard and played extremely well all things considered. Still a few minor mistakes out there, but the guys know when they've made a mistake and want to learn from it."
The Cents will look to learn from this game and move on against the West Kelowna Warriors in West K Saturday. Puck drop 6pm.
ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Doug Scott
3RD STAR: Rylan Van Unen 1G
2ND STAR: Ryan Winter 41/44 STOPS
1ST STAR: Dawson Holt 1 GWG