The Texas Stars of the American Hockey League have announced the signing of former Centennials forward Diego Cuglietta to an amateur tryout for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
Cuglietta played for the Centennials from 2012 -2015 and amassed 128 points in 149 games played over 3 seasons of hockey in the BCHL. His best offensive year came in 2013-14 where he scored 19 goals and added 37 assists for 56 points in 53 games played.
Over his career in NCAA Division I with Lake Superior State, the Kamloops, British Columbia native tallied 50 goals and 50 assists for 100 career points in 147 games. This season, Cuglietta leads NCAA Division I Men's Hockey in goals scored (25), while ranking second in faceoff wins (501). He also set career highs in goals and points (41) this season, tied his career high in assists (16), and led the Lakers with a +24 rating this season.
As captain of the Lakers, Cuglietta earned First Team All-WCHA honors, was a WCHA All-Academic Team selection, was named the Great Lakes Invitational MVP, garnered NCAA Third Star of the Week honors and was named a WCHA Forward of the Week . He is also a nominee for the 2019 Hobey Baker Award.
Head Coach Joe Martin remembers Cuglietta for his work ethic.
"Cuglietta was a guy that would do anything for his team mates, and would always be listening for ways he can improve. He is the definition of what hard work can do, always like a dog on a bone. A great, and I mean GREAT person, and someone who always had a great attitude and an infectious smile."
The Texas Stars are the primary development affiliate of the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars.
The Merritt Centennials are proud to announce that Christian Sabin has committed to the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) for the 2019/20 season.
The New Hudson, Michigan product joined the Centennials ahead of the 2017/18 campaign and put up 15 points in 44 games. This season Sabin more than doubled his production with 37 points while being one of six Centennials to play in all 58 games.
At MSOE, he joins one of the top 10 engineering schools in the United States and will play in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) division of NCAA Division 3.
Head Coach of the Raiders Graham Johnson says that a player like Sabin is just what they look for.
"We are very excited to have Christian commit to our program. He is not only a talented player, but he has the character and competitiveness we are looking for in our student athletes."
The Cents would like to wish Sabin and his family the best as he moves on to his hockey and academic career beyond the BCHL.
The Centennials now boast 11 commitments this year - the most in program history.
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.
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.
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,