Merritt Centennials
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The Merritt Centennials were in it after one period of play, but a wild second period that saw a pair of shorthanded goals, and an additional goal waved off against paved the way for a Prince George victory 5-1. 

Early on it was all Spruce Kings as they were up 2-0 by the 4 minute mark. Colton Cameron and Austin Spiridakis helped get the Spruce Kings out of the gate hot, and they kept the pressure on for the first 10 minutes of the period while Josh Dias tried to recover from the two early strikes. Saved by the BCHL media timeout, the Cents came out swinging after the break and the new look top line was able to converge on net and bang home a goal. Jerzy Orchard pulled the puck off the wall, Brodi Stuart threw a shot on net, and Ben Ward got to the rebound first to make it a 2-1 hockey game and give the Cents a shot in the arm for the remainder of the first. They also picked up a late penalty in the first that would give them a powerplay heading into the 2nd. Shots after 1 were 17-9 Spruce Kings. 

With the powerplay to start the 2nd, the Cents appeared to have the upper hand, but on a routine dump in Josh Dias got his wires crossed and Andrew Seaman pounced on him in the crease and potted a quick goal. So quick in fact that the officials missed it at first, but after play went on for another 2 minutes, the refs converged and decided it was indeed a goal. The decision turned back the clock and the Cents still had a bit of time left on the powerplay. Despite additional powerplay throughout the period, the Cents couldn't hit pay dirt. Grayson Valente went off for a double-minor and after a mad play in front of the net PG batted in a goal. The officials reversed the decision citing a hand pass in the crease. Mason Waite was able to capitalize shorthanded late in the frame by dancing his way to the net and beating Dias five-hole to make it a 4-1 hockey game. Shots after 2 were 22-15 PG. 

The third period didn't have much going of consequence as both teams ground out the game to the final whistle. Hunor Torzsok was the beneficiary of a play reminiscent of the NVMA, as the puck bounced off the end-boards and right into the slot onto his stick, he made no mistake with the gift and put it into the empty cage to put the Spruce Kings 5-1. That would be the final as Josh Dias stopped 27 of 32 while Jordan Fairlie stopped 18 of 19 for the Win. 

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said that they will get to learn something before moving on in a short week. 

"We will take what we can from this game, and the good thing is the guys won't have to dwell on this one, they will get to play a game next week against a different opponent and try again."

The Cents will face the Trail Smoke Eaters on Thursday night 7pm from the NVMA. 

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The Merritt Centennials announced the addition of forward Brodi Stuart (00) to the team's roster on loan from the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL). 

Stuart is a veteran of 204 games over 3 WHL campaigns and has consistently put up numbers that have him hovering just over the half-point-per-game mark. Last season with the Blazers, Stuart contributed 9 goals and 30 assists for 39 points through 63 games played. In addition to the offense, Stuart also provides a lot of intangibles and has worn an 'A' for the past two seasons in Kamloops. He has also attended numerous pro rookie camps including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars, and Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says it's the veteran presence and leadership that the team will benefit from most. 

"Brodi is a first class person and with the current situation in the WHL this was a no brainer for our organization to bring him in. He will fit in great with out group and will fill an important veteran role up front. FOr us it's not just what he brings on the ice, but off the ice as well. He will make everyone around him better and that was something we couldn't pass up. I'd like to thank Matt Bardsley and the Kamloops Blazers organization for their support throughout this process."

The Western Hockey League has agreed to allow teams to loan their players to Junior A teams until December 20th at which time they will rejoin their WHL team.

Look for Stuart to make his Centennials debut on November 7th when the Cents travel to Prince George. 

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The Cents ground out a text book road game that didn't have a deciding factor until a goal with 3 seconds remaining gave the Cents the edge over the Spruce Kings. 

The first period didn't have a lot going for either side save some penalties. The Cents made 3 trips to the sin bin along with 2 misconducts, but were able to kill all of the Spruce Kings attempts. Rookie netminder and native of the North, Colton Phillips-Watts was a big part of the penalty kill and held the team in the period. The Cents got a pair of powerplay opportunities but weren't able to make good on them. Shots after 1 were 9-5 PG. 

In the second period the offense started to roll, Nick Rheaume went to the box for interference and the Cents went to the powerplay. With the extra man, the puck was worked up to Grayson Valente and he was able to walk down the left side and fire an off-angle rocket to make open the scoring. The Cents took just one penalty in the second period, and were able to play much more disciplined on the road, but squandered a two-man advantage late in the frame. Andrew Seaman leveled the score after some pretty passing by PG to make it 1-1. Shots after 2 were 17-10. 

The final frame saw both teams jockey for position and the go ahead goal. Colton Phillips-Watts made some quality stops to keep the team in it and the game tied. An early penalty by Erichuk was killed off and it wasn't until a late too many men call that the Centennials got their golden opportunity. With just 32 seconds left Derek Sweet-Coulter called his time out, drew up his play and the players executed. After the puck swung round to the right point, Talon Zakall gathered the loose puck, fired low and Ben Ward caught a piece in front to put it past Trotter and deliver the Cents to victory with just 3 seconds remaining. Final shots were 25-17. 

The Cents now have another couple weeks before they meet the Spruce Kings again on November 7th. 

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For the third time in a row, and the 2nd time in 48 hours the Merritt Centennials (0-2) look to solve the Prince George Spruce Kings (2-0). 

On Friday night, The Merritt Centennials managed to fight their way back into the game by the end of the 2nd period, but the final frame got away from them and the Spruce Kings skated to a 6-2 victory.

The first period started much better than the initial exhibition contest with some early powerplay chances. The Cents made good on their second powerplay of the night as Trevor Isaksson collected the puck off a face-off and blasted it top corner blocker-side to give the Cents their first lead of exhibition play. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last as the Prince George would convert on their first powerplay of the night executing a picture perfect slap-pass from Cunningham to Rowan Miller to the back of the net, upstairs, blocker-side on Josh Dias. 

With a tie game heading into the middle stanza, the Cents came out of the gate a little flat and Prince George got chance after chance. 4 minutes and change in Andrew Seaman streaked down the wing with 4-on-4 hockey, pulled to the backhand and beat an outstretched Dias to the far post to make it 2-1. At the 9:16 mark, the Spruce Kings converted on an odd man rush with Mason Waite finishing off a 3-on-2 with a one-timer on the off-wing that beat Dias up high despite a highlight real attempt to make the save. Prince George continued to have the Cents on the ropes until Jacksenn Hungle was finally able to give the Cents some life. Throwing his body around, he was sent in all alone on a breakaway, deked to the forehand, and went bar-down to make the game 3-2. The Cents appeared to get a shot in the arm after the goal, but couldn't get any more offense in the period.

The game was up for the taking in the final frame, and it was the Spruce Kings who did the taking. John Herrington managed to stuff one in from the side of the net that was the lone blemish on Dias' night from a goaltending perspective. Tanner Main sniped high on the powerplay through a heavy screen to make it 5-2. Late in the contest with the game seemingly out of reach, Coach Sweet-Coulter used it as an opportunity to pretend the team was trailing by a closer tally, pulling the goalie with over 2 minutes to go. Despite some solid pressure and some good chances Christian Buono iced the game with 17 seconds left to make it 6-2. 

After two attempts to get past the Spruce Kings, the Cents will be hoping that the third time is the charm, but for the first time they will have to battle a road trip. It could help bring the team together, but the distance to PG is one of the longest trips for the Centennials and shaking out the road rust will be key early on. 

The Cents doubled their offensive output on Friday night with two goals compared to game 1's one, but will need more than that to get past the veteran laden Spruce Kings. A pair of veteran defenders lead the way with Trevor Isaksson and Liam Visram picking up a pair of points so far, while young Jacksenn Hungle and Jerzy Orchard have added goals. 

The Spruce Kings are led by crafty Corey Cunningham with 4 points, Andrew Seaman collected 3 in game 2, and they have 6 other players with at least two points. 

Special teams has been a source of strength so far for the Spruce Kings, while the Centennials are trending in the right direction. 

Powerplay:                      Penalty Kill: 

PG - 30.2% (2nd)            PG - 92.3% (3rd)

Cents - 7.7% (16th)        Cents - 69.2% (16th)

After some strong efforts between the pipes the Cents are going to give veteran Josh Dias a night off. Colton Phillips-Watts will make his BCHL debut. In 20 games last season, he went 2-15 with a 3.15 GAA and a .905SV% last season with the Kootenay Ice in the BC U18 AAA league. 

The Spruce Kings have seen both their goaltenders record a win in the crease. Aaron Trotter is 1-0 with a .964S V% and a 1.00 GAA. Jordan Fairlee is 1-0 with a .905 SV% and a 2.00 GAA. 

After the game on Friday, Assistant Coach Paul Barnes said the Cents need to have a consistent effort.

"We had some decent stretches, but we definitely didn't come to play a full 60 minutes. We need everyone to be playing their best for the full game if we want to have a chance, and there wasn't enough players who had that tonight."

The Cents will look to put the work in for the win this afternoon. Puck drop 3pm. Pregame 2:45 on Q101 with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve. Due to Covid restrictions the broadcast team will not journey to Prince George so the away broadcast will not be available on HockeyTV, however, you can listen to the voice of the Spruce Kings Cole Waldie.

A reminder that you can be in the building with a Super Fan Cutout! Snap a pic of yourself from the waist up, or get a copy of your favourite player in the stands. Send the photo along with a $50 etransfer to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fans looking to watch the game can also go Boston Pizza for their watch party and enter to win a free small pizza with their shots on goal contest. 

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The Merritt Centennials managed to fight their way back into the game by the end of the 2nd period, but the final frame got away from them and the Spruce Kings skated to a 6-2 victory.

The first period started much better than the initial exhibition contest with some early powerplay chances. The Cents made good on their second powerplay of the night as Trevor Isaksson collected the puck off a face-off and blasted it top corner blocker-side to give the Cents their first lead of exhibition play. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last as the Prince George would convert on their first powerplay of the night executing a picture perfect slap-pass from Cunningham to Rowan Miller to the back of the net, upstairs, blocker-side on Josh Dias. The first period would end all square at 1-1 with shots favouring the Cents 13-7.

With a tie game heading into the middle stanza, the Cents came out of the gate a little flat and Prince George got chance after chance. 4 minutes and change in Andrew Seaman streaked down the wing with 4-on-4 hockey, pulled to the backhand and beat an outstretched Dias to the far post to make it 2-1. At the 9:16 mark, the Spruce Kings converted on an odd man rush with Mason Waite finishing off a 3-on-2 with a one-timer on the off-wing that beat Dias up high despite a highlight real attempt to make the save. Prince George continued to have the Cents on the ropes until Jacksenn Hungle was finally able to give the Cents some life. Throwing his body around, he was sent in all alone on a breakaway, deked to the forehand, and went bar-down to make the game 3-2. The Cents appeared to get a shot in the arm after the goal, but couldn’t get any more offense in the period. Shots after 2 were 25-21 PG.

The game was up for the taking in the final frame, and it was the Spruce Kings who did the taking. John Herrington managed to stuff one in from the side of the net that was the lone blemish on Dias’ night from a goaltending perspective. Tanner Main sniped high on the powerplay through a heavy screen to make it 5-2. Late in the contest with the game seemingly out of reach, Coach Sweet-Coulter used it as an opportunity to pretend the team was trailing by a closer tally, pulling the goalie with over 2 minutes to go. Despite some solid pressure and some good chances Christian Buono iced the game with 17 seconds left to make it 6-2. Final shots were 34-27.

After the game, Assistant Coach Paul Barnes said the Cents didn’t give a consistent enough effort.

“We had some decent stretches, but we definitely didn’t come to play a full 60 minutes. We need everyone to be playing their best for the full game if we want to have a chance, and there wasn’t enough players who had that tonight.”

The teams won’t get much time to rest on the result as they get back at it on Sunday afternoon – 3pm puck drop. 2:45 pregame on Q101.

 

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