Former goaltender for the Merritt Centennials Cole Kehler has signed a 3 year entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL.
Playing for the Centennials back in 2015-16, Kehler got into 43 games had an 18-24-1 record with an 89.4 save percentage and a 3.84 Goals Against Average.
In 22 games with the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL this season, Kehler is second in goals-against average, save percentage, and wins.
The Centennials will look to bring the teddys to the ice early, and keep the goals coming often when they welcome the Wenatchee Wild to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena tonight on Teddy Bear Toss Night.
This will be the third matchup of the regular season between these two clubs. Merritt met Wenatchee on the first weekend of the year and suffered a 5-2 defeat here at home, but in mid-October were able to go on the road and return the favour against the Wild in their rink and squeak out a 3-2 victory.
Both teams are coming off wins against the Trail Smoke Eaters. The Wild defeated them 7-4 on Wednesday night. Wenatchee controlled the pace of play hurling 58 shots on net, and trailed 3-2 after 2, but were rewarded with a 5 goal 3rd period. The Cents shutout the Smokies 4-0 on Saturday night, and they were the team that was outshot, but Jacob Berger backstopped the team to a win when the Cents lagged in the second period, and Zach Zorn tallied 2 goals in the third period. Christian Sabin and Chase Bell had goals in the first.
In the last 5 games, the Centennials are the better club with wins in 4 of their last 5, while Wenatchee is 3-2. However, Wenatchee is now the third team in the league to 20 wins and are third in the Interior Division with 43 points on the year. The Cents are holding 6th spot in the Interior as they hold the tie breaker, and 3 games in hand on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks who they'll face tomorrow night.
The Wenatchee Wild are known as a team that pushes the pace, and they have a number of players with high offensive outputs. Jasper Weatherby is second in the league in points with 42, and second in the league in goals with 22. Their defenseman, Cooper Zech is 11th in the league in scoring and first among defensemen with 33 points, and Lucas Sowder is right behind him with 32 points. They also boast 8 players with over 20 points.
By Comparison the Cents have four players over the 20 point plateau, and are led by Henry Cleghorn (26), Zach Zorn (25), and Nick Wicks (23). Cents Captain Tyrell Buckley is the leading scorer amongst defeseman on the squad with 22 points.
The Wild have the 3rd best powerplay numbers in the league with a 21.7% conversion rate and on the kill they're 3rd as well at 84.6%. The Cents sit at 9th on the powerplay at 20.6% and 10th on the penalty kill with 81.4%, however the Cents now up to 9 shorthanded goals on the year.
In net the Wild will turn to Seth Eisele or Austin Park. Park is 13-5 with a 89.7 SV% and a 2.56 GAA while Eisele is 6-5 with a 88.2 SV% and a 2.67 GAA.
The Cents netminders are hot recently. Jacob Berger is coming off a shutout and is now 9-11-2 with a 91.6 SV% and a 3.07 GAA while Austin Roden has won two in a row and has a 91.7 SV% and a 3.11 GAA.
Puck drop 7pm, Pre Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1FM or stream on your desktop or device at q101.ca.
With the World Junior A Challenge approaching, forward for the Merritt Centennials Rylan Van Unen has made it through selection camp in Calgary for Team Canada West and will be part of the main roster heading to Truro in Nova Scotia.
Head Coach of the Cents and Assistant Coach with Team Canada West Joe Martin says that Van Unen played his was onto the team.
"He played a simple game, finished a lot of body checks, scored a few goals on the second day of camp, his line was one of the best lines if not the best line that day, and that was impressive."
Through 26 games this season Van Unen has 12 points and is 3rd on the team in goals with 8.
Van Unen will get his next chance to impress when Team Canada West begins its quest for a 5th Gold medal against the Czech Republic on December 10.
Merritt Centennials forward Zach Zorn has earned another honorable mention nod for his stellar play over the weekend.
Over the weekend, Zorn had 3 goals, 1 assist, all scored on special teams. Two of the markers came shorthanded, the other on the powerplay, and one was a game winning goal as well.
For his efforts Zorn was named first and second star.
This is Zorn's second honorable mention of the season for the BCHL Player of the Week.
Mckullen Astill has been traded to Humbolt of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for future considerations.
Assistant General Manager Matt Sampson says that Astill didn't pan out like the team hoped he would.
"We were hoping he was going to be a top six player for us, a top nine at worst, and you saw flashes of it but he wasn't able to produce the way we thought he would. He's a good player, but it didn't make sense to keep him in the lineup when he wasn't playing very much."
In 15 games with the Centennials, Astill managed one assist and 2 penalty minutes.