Merritt Centennials
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The Merritt Centennials (5-15-1-0) get set for a reset in game two of their island road swing against the Surrey Eagles (8-13-1-3) this afternoon. 

The Merritt Centennials found themselves down early, and weren't able to climb back into the game in a 6-3 loss against the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies had gone 2 full games without scoring a goal, but they broke that slump just over a minute into the game with Henri Schreifels beating Marshall at the 1:08 mark to give the Grizz the early edge. Cody Monds would add to the lead at the 7 minute mark of the first and that seemed to wake the Cents up from their slumber. Already outshooting the Grizzlies, the Cents poured it on with 17 shots in the first period, but were unable to solve Joe Howe who was terrific in net for the Grizzlies. In the second period, the Centennials looked to get themselves back in the game after Hunor Torzsok deflected a Talon Zakall shot in from the point. Unfortunately, the Cents gave the goal back on the very next shift and Victoria restored the 2 goal edge 3-1 for the end of 40 minutes of play. The final frame saw the Cents push at times, but not to the degree required to get back in the game. The Grizzlies would open the scoring in the period at the 6 minute mark, but this time it was the Centennials who answered on the shift after the goal with Kagan sneaking one past Howe. Victoria was able to answer back later in the frame, and Talon Zakall notched his 2nd goal in 3 nights as to bring the Cents within 2, but with the net empty the Grizzlies leading scoring Schreifels would add another to ice the game for the 6-3 final. Final shots were 39-24.

The Surrey Eagles are 2-3 in their last five, and come into the game on tail of two losses in a row with tight one goal games against Division opponents. They lost 4-3 to the Coquitlam Express on Friday, and lost a tight 2-1 game to the Langley Rivermen earlier in the week. The Eagles are a transformed team this season under Head Coach Cam Keith. They've brought in some quality players, can score if given the opportunity, and play on the olympic sized ice. If the Cents aren't ready to go off the hop, the Eagles could land with ferocity after a day of rest. 

Josh Kagan added another goal to his totals last night and continues to lead the team with 21 points. Payton Matsui and Daniel Tkac help pace the attack with 15 points, and the Cents are hoping for a boost in the ranks by adding Christian Buono who was acquired via trade into the lineup tonight. 

The Eagles boast a couple dangerous threats in their lineup with some players who are in the top 20 of BCHL scoring. Holden Katzalay is 7th league wide with 31 points, Christophe Tellier is 14th with 25 points, and Hudson Schandor isn't far behind with 24 points. 

The special teams battle sees the Eagles with the edge. Once again the PK was perfect last night for the Centennials albeit with just a couple opportunities to kill. 

Powerplay:                               Penalty Kill: 

Cents - 6.5% (17th)             Cents - 72% (16th)

Eagles - 15.9% (11th)         Eagles - 81.4% (9th)

The Cents may be looking to shake things up in net tonight to see if that changes the play in front of the goaltender. Tanner Marshall is 3-7 with a .877 SV% and a 4.55 GAA. Affiliate Carter Woodside from the Princeton Posse has looked impressive in limited action in the KIJHL. He's 3-0 with a 1.33 GAA and a .943 SV%

The Eagles have been sharing the workload in the crease this year. Thomas Scarfone has picked up more wins at 5-8-1, a .916 SV%, and a 2.85 GAA. Cal Shell is 3-5 with an .897 SV% and a 3.64 GAA. 

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the Cents need to be willing to pay the price for victory.

"We were trying to get too much from the outside tonight. We need to go to the front of the net, take some shots, pay the price, be good team mates and then we will start seeing results."

The Cents will look to pay full admission for the win against the Surrey Eagles.

Puck drop 4pm from the South Surrey Arena. Pre-Game 3:45 on Q101 and HockeyTV with Jared Thomas. 

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The Merritt Centennials found themselves down early, and weren't able to climb back into the game in a 6-3 loss against the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies had gone 2 full games without scoring a goal, but they broke that slump just over a minute into the game with Henri Schreifels beating Marshall at the 1:08 mark to give the Grizz the early edge. Cody Monds would add to the lead at the 7 minute mark of the first and that seemed to wake the Cents up from their slumber. Already outshooting the Grizzlies, the Cents poured it on with 17 shots in the first period, but were unable to solve Joe Howe who was terrific in net for the Grizzlies. Shots after 1 were 17-8.

In the second period, the Centennials looked to get themselves back in the game after Hunor Torzsok deflected a Talon Zakall shot in from the point. Unfortunately, the Cents gave the goal back on the very next shift and Victoria restored the 2 goal edge 3-1 for the end of 40 minutes of play. Shots after 2 were 28-16.

The final frame saw the Cents push at times, but not to the degree required to get back in the game. The Grizzlies would open the scoring in the period at the 6 minute mark, but this time it was the Centennials who answered on the shift after the goal with Kagan sneaking one past Howe. Victoria was able to answer back later in the frame, and Talon Zakall notched his 2nd goal in 3 nights as to bring the Cents within 2, but with the net empty the Grizzlies leading scoring Schreifels would add another to ice the game for the 6-3 final. Final shots were 39-24. Tanner Marshall allowed 5 goals on 19 shots.

After the game, Derek Sweet Coulter said the Cents need to be willing to go to the dirty areas.

"We were trying to get too much from the outside tonight. We need to go to the front of the net, take some shots, pay the price, be good team mates and then we will start seeing results."

The Cents will look for a better result tomorrow against the Surrey Eagles. Puck drop 4pm.

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The Merritt Centennials have acquired forward Christian Buono (00) and future considerations from the Powell River Kings in exchange for Brett Roloson.

A veteran of over 90 BCHL contests, Buono, the 5'10", 195 pound native of Burnaby, has picked up 14 points in 21 games played this season with the Kings. Last year he tallied 35 points in 55 games. Buono also averaged over a point-per-game in his midget career split between the Vancouver North East Chiefs and the Vancouver North West Giants.

Roloson had tallied 16 points in 19 games this year and makes the move closer to home in the Island Division.

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says that Buono brings an all around game with an edge to the team.

"We are excited to bring in an experienced BCHL veteran like Buono who can contribute in all areas of the game. Christian is extremely excited to be a Centennial and that's what we are looking for. We want players who want to be Merritt Centennials and represent our culture and history with pride on and off the ice."

The Centennials would like to thank Brett for his contributions to the team and community over his time here, and would like to extend a warm welcome to Christian and the Buono family as they begin their time in the Nicola Valley.

Buono could get into the lineup as early as this weekend on the Island road swing.

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The Merritt Centennials (5-14-1) get set to take on a team they're chasing in the standings in the Victoria Grizzlies (7-19) tonight.

The Cents are looking to carry the momentum from last weekend after taking 3 of 4 points from one of the top teams in the league in the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. In game one of the home and home double header, the Cents were able to battle back in a hard fought game in Salmon Arm. Joey Berkopec tied the game at ones with a drive down the left wing side, and was able to collect his own rebound. The Cents went into the third trailing 3-1, but thanks to an effort out of the corner by Jake McLean and Payton Matsui, Matsui was able to backhand it past Langenegger to get the Cents within one. Then with 23 seconds remaining in the game and the net empty, Talon Zakall unleashed a blast that sent the game to overtime. Unfortunately, in the extra frame the Silverbacks would take advantage of a play that wiped Ryan Winter out of the net to take the game 4-3 in OT. The following night at the NVMA the Cents had one of their best efforts of the year and set a new high water mark in terms of goals scored with 6. The teams went toe to toe throughout the game matching shot for shot, goal for goal, but it was the Cents who padded the lead enough to survive a barn burner 6-5. The Cents got goals from Wyatt Marlow, Thomas Manty, Joey Berkopec, and Payton Matsui while Brett Roloson scored a pair to edge the Silverbacks.

The Victoria Grizzlies come into the game on a 8 game losing streak where they've only scored 9 goals over that span. November hasn't been kind as they've lost by scores of 1-0, 4-0 and 5-3 to Nanaimo the last two times out, 2-1 to Cowichan, 4-1 to Penticton and 5-2 to the Vernon Vipers. Despite the losses piling up the Grizzlies have been managing to keep respectable special teams numbers and have just recently acquired Vincent Nardone from the Penticton Vees in exchange for Darwin Lakoduk in an attempt to bolster their offense.

The Cents and Grizzlies will meet for the 2nd and final time this season, and they managed to take game 1 of the season series by a score of 5-1 early on in the season. At that time, Barry Wolff was still tinkering with the roster and two of the teams top scorers for the Cents didn't dress in Brett Roloson and Daniel Tkac. The Cents only managed a goal from Olson Werenka, albeit on the powerplay and ran into the hot goaltending of Joe Howe. The Grizzlies got goals from Fischer, Amousse, Monds, McInnis and Biester on route to the vicory.

The Cents continue to lean on Josh Kagan up front who has 20 points, but beginning to surge now are Payton Matsui and Daniel Tkac with 14 points.

The Grizzlies are led by Henri Schreifels with 20 points, Cody Monds has 17, while veterans Marty Westhaver and Nico Somerville have 16 points.

The Cents are looking to improve on special teams as they tallied a powerplay goal on the weekend, and didn't allow a powerplay goal in 12 opportunities from Salmon Arm.

Powerplay:                             Penalty Kill:

Cents - 6.6% (17th)           Cents - 71.4% (16th)

Grizz - 14.9% (13th)          Grizz- 83.5% (5th)

The goaltending duel sees both Cents netminders starting to heat up, but Tanner Marshall will get the call with Ryan Winter nursing a minor lower body injury. Marshall is 3-6 with an .884 SV% and a 4.49 GAA. Affiliate Carter Woodside will be joining the Cents for the road trip. Woodside is the backup with the KIJHL's Princeton Posse and has played spectacular in every game he's been in going 3-0 with a .943 SV% and a 1.33 GAA.

Last time out the Cents ran into the hot play of Joe Howe who's been the go to guy in Victoria with a 5-12 record, a .903 SV%, a 3.69 GAA and 1 shutout. Blake Wood has served as the backup and is 2-6 with an .891 SV% and a 4.02 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the Cents need to continue to bring the compete, and feel the urgency.

"We had a lot of positives last weekend, but the biggest thing is the compete level. We need that to be there in full force, and playing a team we are chasing in the standings we need to realize how big this game can be."

The Cents will look to compete their way to the win tonight.

Puck drop 7pm from the Q Centre in Victoria. Pre-Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101 and Hockey TV.

A reminder to enter our weekly online 50/50 where you can turn a toonie into over $250 dollars here: https://centsweekly5050.thelottofactory.com/

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The Merritt Centennials announced today that they've removed the Interim title for Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter.

Under Sweet-Coulter the Cents have gone 3-5-1 and are coming off a weekend where they took 3 of 4 points from one of the league leaders in the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Coach Sweet-Coulter says that he's proud to continue the tradition of Centennials hockey.

"I'm extremely excited to lead this organization into the future and the challenges and triumphs that await."

The announcement comes ahead of an abbreviated Island road swing against the Victoria Grizzlies and the Surrey Eagles this weekend.

A reminder to sign up for the Cents Weekly Online 50/50, where you can turn a toonie into over $250, available Canada wide at: https://centsweekly5050.thelottofactory.com/

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