Merritt Centennials
Q101 is the Home of the Cents!

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Every year after the NCAA season wraps up there's a surge by NHL clubs to pick up standouts that are finishing their Senior year.

Former Centennials defender Josh Teves is looking to find a spot on the Vancouver Canucks blue line in years to come after signing an entry-level deal.

Teves last played for the Centennials in 2014-15 where he put up 5 goals and 28 helpers in 57 games played. He was also exceptional in the classroom receiving the RBC National Junior A Scholarship for $5000 which is only awarded to one player in the whole CJHL.

The Calgary, Alberta native then moved on to play for the Princeton Tigers where he was a big part of the blue line playing in 126 games over 4 seasons and amassing 16 goals and 69 assists. His best season came in 2017-18 where he put up 33 points in 31 games played.

Head Coach Joe Martin remembers an upbeat young man who had all kinds of potential.

"We only had him for one year as a 19 year old, but you could tell that he had a raw ability that was ready to be molded and he had the work ethic to match. A player that was willing to work for everything, but was never in it for personal statistics - he always put the team first."

Teves picked up a lot of accolades in his time with Princeton including being an ECAC Champion.

Teves attended Canucks development camp last summer, and arrives at the same time as highly touted draft prick Quinn Hughes.

 

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The Merritt Centennials coaching staff have named their top playoff performers after the team's unfortunate first round exit to the Trail Smoke Eaters.

This year Payton Matsui and Matt Kopperud will both get recognized for their stellar play in the post season.

Matsui has been a spark plug all year long with his tenacity on the forecheck and ability to turn pucks over, and that didn't chance in the post season. He set up Rylan Van Unen in game 2 to bring the Cents back level, used his speed to the outside to find Daniel Tkac in game 3, and had his best game of the playoffs and arguably the year in game 4 with a shorthanded goal and an assist.

Kopperud was the top offensive threat on the team through the series, and was always looking to create with quick puck movement, a quick pass, or a quick deke. He was instrumental in the team's first two games of the playoffs scoring two goals in the game 1 win, and adding another in game 2. He supplied an assist in game 3, and another goal in game 4, but was held off the score sheet in game 5.

Head Coach Joe Martin says that the fact that both of these players were named the top performers is a great sign for next year.

"Matsui and Kopperud played exceptional during the playoffs, and put the work in to put up great performance's. Obviously our run ended a little sooner than us and the fans would like, but this is a glimpse into the future for Cents fans as both these guys will be back for next season and will be leaned upon."

After an amazing 2018/19 campaign, the Cents next order of business is getting ready for Spring Camp at the NVMA from April 5th to 7th.

 

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The Merritt Centennials didn't leave anything in the tank, but they waited too long to get on the gas pedal as they suffered a 4-2 defeat to the Trail Smoke Eaters.

The first period was a lot slower than many of the Cents faithful who packed the barn would have hoped for. After coming out flying in games 1 and 2, the Cents stumbled out of the gate in game 5. They only managed 8 shots in the period, and gave up a breakaway for the Smoke Eaters first goal at the 9:47 mark of the first. Mack Byers scored his 3rd goal of the series, and his 3rd goal on Cents ice to give the Smoke Eaters the 1-0 lead after 1.

The middle frame saw the Cents perform better, but not get rewarded on the scoreboard. Once again it was a breakaway that was the Cents undoing. This time it was Owen Ozar who went in all alone and beat Roden down low. Roden redeemed himself on a 2-on-1 to keep the Cents within striking distance, and really wasn't at fault for any goal scored on the night. The Cents would finish the 2nd period behind 2-0.

In the third, the Cents had to kill off an early penalty, but then got to work offensively. They drew two penalties in quick succession and then got to go to the PP. At the 4:07 mark with the Cents cycling the puck around the horn with the two man advantage Mike Van Unen unloaded a lazer to make it a 2-1 game, and reach half his goal total for the year in 5 games of the post season alone. Then just as the second penalty was expiring Brad Cocca sent a blast top corner over the shoulder of Buskey to tie the game at 2. The Cents looked to be in the driver seat, but once again on the counterattack the Smoke Eaters proved why they're so dangerous. Bryce Anderson was left alone in front of the net and put a backhander behind Roden to give the Smoke Eaters the one goal edge, and try as they might the Cents couldn't find the equalizer again and surrendered an empty netter late to drop the game 4-2.

After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin said that he wasn't happy with the end result, but the journey was one of the best so far.

"I think this team did some amazing things this year, we had a great core, great graduating players. It's never the way you want it to end unless you go all the way, but I feel the work we did this year will improve the Centennials program moving forward."

The Cents would like to thank all of their graduating players: 'O Captain My Captain' Nick Wicks free wheels on to Alaska - Anchorage, Assistant Captain Brendan Schneider will bring his never ending energy to Mercyhurst, Assistant Captain Nick Granowicz will get his 'Game On' at the University of Michigan, Brad Cocca stick handles to Brown, Mathieu Gosselin 'The Goose' will fly to Clarkson, Christian Sabin is grinding out a deal himself, Austin Roden will tend the crease for Nebraska-Omaha, and Mike Van Unen will bring his mobile defense to Northern Michigan,

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The Merritt Centennials have their backs against the wall trailing 3-1 in the best of seven series as they look to stay alive against the Trail Smoke Eaters tonight.

The Merritt Centennials had arguably their best effort of the post season, but when the game looked bound for OT the Smoke Eaters pulled out a late goal to make it 3-2. For the first time in the series the Cents scored the opening goal, and once again their first goal came shorthanded. After Joey Berkopec went off for hooking, Brady Ziemer sprung fellow Minnesotan Payton Matsui in on a break away. Matsui got a shot off the pad, and did well not to over skate the puck or the net, finding his own rebound to make it 1-0, but Trail answered just under 3 minutes later with Kryski scoring his first of the playoffs to tie the game at 1.

In the second period the Cents were the first to the scoresheet again, and once again it was Payton Matsui figuring into the offense. After a stretch pass was blocked at center, the Centennials threw the puck back in and Buskey went behind his net to play. Matsui picked his pocket and found Matt Kopperud out front who scored his 4th goal of the series to give the Cents the 2-1 edge. However, the Smoke Eaters didn’t give up on the stretch pass, and midway through the period Connor found Tuck up the middle of the ice, and he was sprung for a breakaway. Tuck took a page out of Kent Johnson’s book and faked backhand until the final second bringing it forehand and in past the pad of Roden to tie the game.

The final frame saw both teams have chances to take the lead, but both goalies stood on their heads. Roden a little more so making big saves in tight and from distance. With the Cents pushing late in the third and hemming the puck in the Smokies zone, Trevor Zins in desperation got the puck up to Johnson. Johnson skated up the left wing, drove wide on Jaydon Fetter, dipped below the goal line and back out front to the backhand and went top shelf, glove on Roden for the dagger with just 2:30 to play for a 3-2 loss. Austin Roden turned in a much better effort throughout the game, giving the Cents the opportunity to win by making a couple key saves throughout the game.

The Cents now turn to a make or break Game 5 back at home where they were the 4th best home team during the regular season. Trail was able to steal Game 2, but the Cents did not turn in a good effort in that game. Now with their backs against the wall it's time to do or die. The Cents need to take what's given by the Smoke Eaters defense instead of trying to force plays that aren't there. Hunt for rebounds against Buskey, look to capitalize on a broken play as the Smokies have been collapsing to the net, and make sure your passes are going tape to tape or chip it down deep. No look back passes and dangling into sticks have been the undoing of many a promising Centennials rush. It's time to play simple. It's time to play hard. Unfortunately, that has been the recipe for the Smoke Eaters success in the series - the Cents just need to do it better.

The Cents have been led by Matt Kopperud who has 4 goals and 1 assist in the series. Payton Matsui has used his tenacity to maximum effectiveness scoring a goal and setting up 3 others. Brendan Schneider has had a hand in 3 goals, but the Cents need more from their top line of Cocca, Granowicz and Gosselin.

The Smoke Eaters are getting solid efforts from Tyler Ghirardosi who has 2 goals and 5 assists, rookie Kent Johnson has scored in every game this series and has 2 GWG to go along with an assist. Mack Byers had two goals in game 2 and has added 2 helpers.

The Cents have gotten 2 shorthanded goals in the past 2 games, but still need more from their special teams.

Powerplay:                                                 Penalty Kill:

Trail - 22.2% (7th)                                 Trail - 80% (8th)

Cents - 20% (9th)                                 Cents - 77.8% (10th)

The Cents got a better performance from Austin Roden in Game 4, but with the season on the line they need an absolute game stealing effort. Roden is 1-3 with a .882 SV% and a 3.79 GAA. Donovan Buskey is doing his best to hang on to the starter's role with Adam Marcoux itching to get back in the crease and is 3-1 with a .928 SV% and a 2.50 GAA.

Head Coach Joe Martin feels the Cents are just a bounce away from bouncing back in this series.

"The effort is definitely there, we just need some better puck luck and some better decisions with the puck and we can be right back in this."

The Cents will look for a strong push to ensure the season lives to see another day.

Puck Drop 7pm. Pre-Game 6:45 on Hockey TV and Q101.1FM with Jared Thomas.

Pick up your tickets at the Marketing Office from 10-3, or at the NVMA from 3pm - puck drop!

 

 

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The Merritt Centennials had arguably their best effort of the post season, but when the game looked bound for OT the Smoke Eaters pulled out a late goal to make it 3-2.

For the first time in the series the Cents scored the opening goal, and once again their first goal came shorthanded. After Joey Berkopec went off for hooking, Brady Ziemer sprung fellow Minnesotan Payton Matsui in on a break away. Matsui got a shot off the pad, and did well not to over skate the puck or the net, finding his own rebound to make it 1-0 at the 8:30 mark of the 1st.

Trail answered just under 3 minutes later with Kryski scoring his first of the playoffs to tie the game at 1.

Austin Roden turned in a much better effort throughout the game, giving the Cents the opportunity to win by making a couple key saves throughout the game. After 1 period shots were 14-10 Trail.

In the second period the Cents were the first to the scoresheet again, and once again it was Payton Matsui figuring into the offense. After a stretch pass was blocked at center, the Centennials threw the puck back in and Buskey went behind his net to play. Matsui picked his pocket and found Matt Kopperud out front who scored his 4th goal of the series to give the Cents the 2-1 edge just 2:15 into the second.

However, the Smoke Eaters didn’t give up on the stretch pass, and midway through the period Connor found Tuck up the middle of the ice, and he was sprung for a breakaway. Tuck took a page out of Kent Johnson’s book and faked backhand until the final second bringing it forehand and in past the pad of Roden to tie the game.

Shots after 2 period of play were 20-18.

The final frame saw both teams have chances to take the lead, but both goalies stood on their heads. Roden a little more so making big saves in tight and from distance. With the Cents pushing late in the third and hemming the puck in the Smokies zone, Trevor Zins in desperation got the puck up to Johnson. Johnson skated up the left wing, drove wide on Jaydon Fetter, dipped below the goal line and back out front to the backhand and went top shelf, glove on Roden for the dagger with just 2:30 to play.

The Cents ran out of time to equalize and fell 3-2.

After the game Head Coach Joe Martin said he thought the Cents gave their all.

"It was the best we've played in the series, but an unlucky goal at the end, a bad play for their second goal. We deserved a better fate."

They now have their backs against the wall trailing 3-1 for an elimination Game 5 back in Merritt on Friday night at 7pm from the NVMA. Pick up your tickets at the Marketing Office from 10-4pm tomorrow or 10-3pm on Friday. Then get your tickets at the rink from 3pm to puck drop. Cheer on your Cents to stave off elimination!

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