The Merritt Centennials (4-11) look to return to the win column against the surging Chilliwack Chiefs (10-5-3-1) tonight.
The Cents are coming off a split of the weekends action. They kicked off Parent’s weekend with a bang with a 4-0 shutout over the Langley Rivermen. Ryan Winter earned his first BCHL shutout by stopping all 48 shots he faced, earning a first star nod. Josh Kagan scored in the first, Chase Nameth got his first as a Cent in the 2nd, Captain Rylan Van Unen scored in the third, and Thomas Manty added the insurance marker with an empty netter for the solid victory. However, on Sunday afternoon with archrival Penticton in town, the Cents fell by a score of 4-1. Even strength the teams got the same contributions scoring a goal apiece, but the Vees were able to make good on 3/5 powerplays to secure the win. Josh Kagan was the lone player to light the lamp for the Cents with his 10th of the season. Throughout the weekend, special teams remains the big blemish on the Centennials who have now gone 0 for their last 54.
The Chilliwack Chiefs are coming in off a win against the Surrey Eagles 6-3, but have been bested by Interior Division opponents the last 3 times out. They dropped a narrow 4-3 loss in overtime to the Penticton Vees last Saturday and fell to the Vernon Vipers and Salmon Arm Silverbacks when in enemy territory. The Chiefs boast one of the leagues youngest lineups, and the Cents will have to try and take advantage of the teams first and only trip to the NVMA this year.
Josh Kagan has been a beacon of offense for the Centennials since joining the team and continues to pace the club in points with 15. Payton Matsui on the strength of some quality assists over the weekend has moved to second in team scoring with 11 points, and Brett Roloson and Daniel Tkac sit at 9 points each.
Chilliwack is led by Ethan Bowen up front with 21 points - good enough for 9th highest in the BCHL. Rookies Joey Larson and Peter Reynolds are tied with 16 points, while newcomer Kyle Penney has 15.
The special teams battle sees the Cents looking for relief from a long suffering powerplay. Currently mired in an 0/54 stretch they hope that relief comes soon.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents - 6% (7th) Cents - 70.6% (16th)
Chiefs - 24.7% (2nd) Chiefs - 78.8% (13th)
The goaltender duel sees Ryan Winter looking to build off his shutout performance last Friday. He's now 2-7 with a .916 SV%, a 3.48 GAA, and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is 2-4 with an .884 SV% and a 4.01 GAA.
The Chiefs have been getting quality goaltending from Mathieu Caron who is 6-1-3 with a .926 SV%, a 2.25 GAA, and 1 shutout. Kolby Thornton is 4-3 with a .892 SV% and a 3.30 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the team needs to create more 2nd opportunities.
"When we struggle for offense, we aren't setting ourselves up for success with well placed shots. We need to shoot for the 2nd opportunities, bring the bodies and get on the scoresheet."
The Cents will look to seize the opportunity for a win tonight.
Puck drop 7pm. Pre-Game 6:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.
Kids who dress up in costume will get into the game for free, and be able to participate in our 1st intermission costume contest!