Merritt Centennials
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The Merritt Centennials (9-21-1-3) welcome a recent foe in the Powell River Kings (17-16-2-0) to the NVMA tonight.

The Cents are coming off an island road swing where they picked up 3 of a possible 6 points. The lone win on the road trip came against these very Kings 4-3, they suffered a shootout loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals 3-2, and a loss to the Nanaimo Clippers 7-0. A couple Cents had some big performances over the weekend, none bigger than Tanner Marshall who earned an honorable mention in the BCHL Player of the Week for his role in the Cents road trip. He went 1-0-0-1 with a 957 SV%, a 1.92 GAA, and a 1st Star nod for a game in Duncan against the Caps where he stopped a BCHL season high 57 shots. Hunor Torzsok kept up his torrid pace in the goal department as he now leads the team with 10 goals, and the Cents have picked up points in 3 of their last 5 games.

The Kings are coming off a game against the Langley Rivermen where they lost 4-1 with Miller tallying the lone goal, but before that haven't played since their 4-3 loss to the Cents. In that game, the Cents opened the scoring after Jerzy Orchard dropped his stick in the corner and picked it up just in time to have the puck bounce to him off a rebound to pot it home to give the Cents a 1-0 lead. The game was quickly tied by Reilly Moran who launched a shot up and over Marshall to make it 1-1. Rylan Van Unen scored a powerplay goal to restore the 2-1 lead, but a freak goal by Jack Long tied things up before the end of one. The Cents then cashed in in quick succession in the 2nd frame scoring 2 powerplay goals with 15 seconds left from Payton Matsui and Hunor Torzsok to get a 4-2 lead. Reilly Moran would score early in the 3rd on a powerplay, but the Cents would hang on for the win.

The Cents are led offensively by the player that one the Hard to Play Against Hat against Powell River - Christian Buono with 24 points. Payton Matsui is coming off a 3 point performance against the Kings and has 22 points. Thomas Manty registered an assist against the Kings and leads the team rookies with 18 points.

The Kings are led by sniper Reilly Moran who has 25 points, former Cent Brett Roloson has 25 as well, and winger Michael Abgrall has 22 points.

The special teams battle sees the Cents coming off a strong 3/5 performance against the Kings.

Powerplay:                                      Penalty Kill:

Cents - 10.1% (17th)                Cents - 72.3% (16th)

PR - 14.9% (15th)                      PR - 71.9% (17th)

The battle in the blue paint sees Tanner Marshall coming off a great weekend, but with 4 games to play the Cents will need to manage their goaltending situation. Marshall is 6-9-1 with an .885 SV% and a 4.46 GAA. Ryan Winter is 2-10-2 with a .900 SV%, a 4.15 GAA, and 1 shutout.

The Powell River Kings have Derek Krall and Thomas Wardle as options between the pipes. Krall is 13-5-1 with a .910 SV% and a 2.74 GAA with 1 shutout. Wardle is 4-3-1 with a .900 SV%, a 3.11 GAA and 1 shutout.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the team has to focus on the positives from the weekend and be ready to move on.

"I think there were a lot of things during the weekend that we can look back on and be proud of. We need to harness that and be ready to play against this club that is itching at a second crack at us."

The Cents will look to be getting some positive results tonight.

Puck drop 7pm. Pre-game 6:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.

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The Cents fell in their final game of the island swing by a score of 7-0 against the Nanaimo Clippers.

The team battled hard in the early goings and didn’t show much rust from the road. Naylor stood tall for the Clippers and the lone goal came on a breakaway for Josh Bourne. Ryan Winter got the start for the Cents and came up with a couple huge stops in the first frame. Shots after 1 were 12-7 in favour of the Cents.

In the second period, the Clippers started to pull away as Bourne added two more goals for the natural hat trick. The Cents tried to turn the tide with a time out call when they were down 2-0, but a shot from Buono went off iron and the Cents didn’t get the shot in the arm they needed. By the end of the 2nd it was 5-0 Clippers. Shots after 2 were 21-20 Cents.

The final frame saw the Clippers show they were the fresher team as the Cents couldn’t get the legs engaged. They’d add a couple more to make it a 7-0 final. Final shots were 31-30 Nanaimo.

After the game, Head Coach Sweet-Coulter said the team just lost the legs when they couldn’t crack Naylor.

“In a game like that you’re fighting for something, and when you don’t get rewarded it’s hard to get that jolt of energy.”

The Cents will look to recharge the batteries ahead of a 4 game week. Powell River Wednesday, a double header against the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday and Saturday, and the final game before Christmas on Sunday.

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The Merritt Centennials (9-20-1-3) take on the Island division leading Nanaimo Clippers (22-10-1-2) this afternoon.

The Merritt Centennials are coming off another gutsy effort where they were in the drivers seat heading to the final seconds of the game when the Capitals tied it, and then won it in the shootout 3-2.

The first period saw the Cents survive the early onslaught by the Cowichan Valley Capitals, and it set the stage for Tanner Marshall in the game as he saw a lot of rubber early. The Cents survived an early test with the Capitals on the powerplay and were able to hang on until even strength. Matthew Crasa opened the scoring at the 12:40 mark after it bounced through the slot on his stick to the side of the net. A weird exchange occurred at the end of the first period that saw Olson Werenka leave the game. Captain's Rylan Van Unen and Cote exchanged jabs in the offensive zone, when Cote cross checked Van Unen to the head, and a penalty was on the way. Werenka took exception once play was dead and checked Cote from behind and it caused a scrum. After the scrum, Werenka got a five minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind, Cote got off scott free, and a roughing call went to another member of the Capitals. Shots after 1 were 17-10 in favour of Cowichan.

With the major penalty to Werenka the Capitals looked for more on the powerplay, but Tanner Marshall and the Cents were able to kill off the penalty. Hunor Torzsok was able to equalize the game from his office in front of the net to make it 1-1 from Josh and Rylan Van Unen. The Capitals had enough shots in the 2nd to last them for a game as they threw 26 on Tanner Marshall. Shots after 2 were 43 - 22 for the Caps.

Torzsok got the Cents their first lead of the hockey game within the first minute of the third where else but in the goal mouth to make it 2-1. Once again Josh and Rylan set up the marker. The Cents played a solid final frame, but ran into some trouble just over halfway through to take another defender out of the game.  That would be a minor turning point as the Cents would go down to 4 D, and then late in the frame Sidaway would crunch Galloway into the boards with a check from behind major to take the young D man out of the game. With 3 D remaining in the contest, the Cents were on the powerplay with a 5 minute major, but the Capitals kept coming in waves. With the net empty, and after Payton Matsui missed the empty net, the Capitals got a draw in the offensive zone, won it, and were able to get the equalizer with 13 seconds left.

The Caps killed off the remainder of the major penalty to get out of danger and the game would go all the way to the shootout, and it still isn't the Cents cup of tea. They'd allow the one shooter, and couldn't find the back of the net to fall in the shootout, but they already have 3 of a possible 6 points on the island road swing.

The Clippers are on  a bit of a slide of late as they are 1-4 in their last 5 and have lost 3 in a row. Last night they fell to the Victoria Grizzlies in a penalty filled contest 6-3, they fell to the Grizzlies mid-week 3-1, lost to the Eagles in a shootout 3-2, the last Nanaimo win came against another team that's on the slide the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 2-1, and Coquitlam held their home ice with a 4-3 win over Nanaimo as well. The Cents will be facing Josh Kagan for the first and last time since the trade unless they meet in the playoffs, and Evan Benwell will face the team that brought him to the BCHL.

The Cents have been getting contributions from the line of Hunor Torzsok, Josh Van Unen and Rylan Van Unen, but it's Christian Buono who leads the team with 23 points, Payton Matsui has 22, and Thomas Manty has 18 points.

The Clippers are led by former Cent Josh Kagan and Captain Ethan Scardina with 31 points up front. Josh Bourne has 27 points, and the team has 6 players who have tallied over 20.

The special teams battle sees the Cents looking to get back on the horse after going 3/5 in Powell River, they went 0/4 against the Capitals.

Powerplay:                        Penalty Kill:

Cents - 10.5% (17th)  Cents - 72% (16th)

Clips - 19.3% (8th)       Clips - 88.4% (2nd)

The goaltending duel sees Tanner Marshall coming off another great game, but it may be time to deploy Ryan Winter with the 3rd game in 3 days. Winter is 2-9-2 with a 3.96 GAA and a .906 SV% and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is 6-10-1 with a .885 SV% and a 4.46 GAA.

The Clippers boast two of the league's best in Jordan Naylor and Zachary Bennett. Naylor is 15-3-1 with a .943 SV% and a 1.76 GAA. Bennett is 6-7 with a .936 SV% and a 2.19 GAA. Both goaltenders have 3 shutouts a piece.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says that he liked the teams battle through adversity against the Capitals and they'll need that again.

"Our teams resilience throughout that game was commendable. These guys are playing for each other and we will be looking for another strong effort against the Clippers."

Puck drop 2pm. Pre-Game 1:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas.

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The Merritt Centennials were in the drivers seat heading to the final seconds of the game when the Capitals tied it, and then won it in the shootout 3-2.

The first period saw the Cents survive the early onslaught by the Cowichan Valley Capitals, and it set the stage for Tanner Marshall in the game as he saw a lot of rubber early. The Cents survived an early test with the Capitals on the powerplay and were able to hang on until even strength. Matthew Crasa opened the scoring at the 12:40 mark after it bounced through the slot on his stick to the side of the net. A weird exchange occurred at the end of the first period that saw Olson Werenka leave the game. Captain's Rylan Van Unen and Cote exchanged jabs in the offensive zone, when Cote cross checked Van Unen to the head, and a penalty was on the way. Werenka took exception once play was dead and checked Cote from behind and it caused a scrum. After the scrum, Werenka got a five minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind, Cote got off scott free, and a roughing call went to another member of the Capitals. Shots after 1 were 17-10 in favour of Cowichan.

With the major penalty to Werenka the Capitals looked for more on the powerplay, but Tanner Marshall and the Cents were able to kill off the penalty. Hunor Torzsok was able to equalize the game from his office in front of the net to make it 1-1 from Josh and Rylan Van Unen. The Capitals had enough shots in the 2nd to last them for a game as they threw 26 on Tanner Marshall. Shots after 2 were 43 - 22 for the Caps.

Torzsok got the Cents their first lead of the hockey game within the first minute of the third where else but in the goal mouth to make it 2-1. Once again Josh and Rylan set up the marker. The Cents played a solid final frame, but ran into some trouble just over halfway through to take another defender out of the game. After a goal mouth scramble, Marshall took the puck in the glove, Broadhurst took a whack at it, Zakall defended his goalie, Broadhurst jumped him, and some how after taking Zakall to the ice in a headlock, Zakall was given 2 and a 10 and would leave the game. That would be a minor turning point as the Cents would go down to 4 D, and then late in the frame Sidaway would crunch Galloway into the boards with a check from behind major to take the young D man out of the game. With 3 D remaining in the contest, the Cents were on the powerplay with a 5 minute major, but the Capitals kept coming in waves. With the net empty, and after Payton Matsui missed the empty net, the Capitals got a draw in the offensive zone, won it, and were able to get the equalizer with 13 seconds left.

The Caps killed off the remainder of the major penalty to get out of danger and the game would go all the way to the shootout, and it still isn't the Cents cup of tea. They'd allow the one shooter, and couldn't find the back of the net to fall in the shootout, but they already have 3 of a possible 6 points on the island road swing.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter applauded the Cents battle throughout the game especially late.

"We saw a ton of fight from this team especially on defense. The team was down to 5 d men, then 4, then 3, but we still hung in there with one of the best teams in the league until overtime."

The Cents will look to add to their point total on Sunday against the Clippers at 2pm.

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The Merritt Centennials (9-20-1-2) look to keep the good times rolling against the Cowichan Valley Capitals (21-11-3-1) tonight.

**6PM PUCK DROP**

The Cents are looking to replicate the effort they showed last night where they battled for the full 60 minutes and were rewarded with a regulation victory over the Powell River Kings to kick start their Island road trip with a 4-3 win.

Jerzy Orchard continued where he left off on Sunday by potting in a rebound to the side of the net to make it 1-0 3 minutes in. Payton Matsui found Manty for the initial shot from behind the net. The Kings were able to quickly answer, but then Cents to their first powerplay of the game where the Cents quickly scored. Once again it was Matsui, who from the half-wall was able to spot Captain Rylan Van Unen back door to make it 2-1. The Kings wouldn’t answer until late in the first when Jack Long would throw a puck on net from the corner and it would somehow find a hole against the toe of Marshall to tie the game 2-2 after 20 minutes. Shots after 1 were 14-12 in favour of the Cents.

The second period was largely uneventful until the final minutes. The Cents were able to kill of some early penalties, and were able to capitalize when they got the chance late in the frame. The Cents were about to go to a 2-man advantage when Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter saw a turning point and called a time out. After a great play by Werenka to keep it alive at the blue line, Matsui took the puck skated to the left side and sniped one top corner to give the Cents the 3-2 lead with 15 seconds left in the 2nd. Then with just 3 seconds left Hunor Torzsok got the tip in front to make it 4-2. Shots after 2 were 26-23 Cents. The Cents bent, but didn't break in the third period and only allowed a powerplay goal, but hung on for the win.

The Cowichan Valley Capitals are far removed from the team that just squeaked into the playoffs last year in regards to points, but not in regards to identity. Former Cents bench boss Mike Vandekamp has the Capitals playing hard nosed hockey with heart, but now has some solid skill sprinkled in. They've been battling for top spot in the Island Division all season long, but the Cents are looking to play spoiler. In their last 5, the Capitals are 3-1-1 coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs last night. However, before that the Capitals had strung three wins together 5-0 over Salmon Arm, a 5-4 overtime win over Powell River, and a 6-4 win over the Bulldogs. Their last regulation loss came against the Victoria Grizzlies 4-3.

The Cents are starting to heat up offensively, and Christian Buono is coming off the team hard to play against award with 23 points. Payton Matsui is fresh off a 3 point night and has 22 points, and rookie Thomas Manty has 18 points.

The Capitals are led by Luc Wilson up front who's 6th in league scoring with 39 points, defender Dimitri Mikrogiannakis paces the league's defense with 37 points, and rookie Matthew Crasa has 30 points including 18 goals.

The special teams battle sees the Cents going up against one of the league's best, but they're starting to improve themselves.

Powerplay:                                      Penalty Kill:

Cents - 10.8% (17th)                 Cents - 71.4 % (17th)

Capitals - 25.2% (3rd)               Capitals - 81.8% (7th)

The goaltending duel sees Marshall coming off a win, but with 3 games in 3 nights the Cents will have to use both goaltenders at some point. Marshall is now 6-10 with an .877 SV% and a 4.64 GAA. Ryan Winter is 2-9-2 with a .906 SV%, a 3.96 GAA and 1 shutout.

Zach Borgiel is the go to goaltender for the Caps with a 15-7-1 record, a .903 SV%, 2.93 GAA, and 2 shutouts. He's also picked up a BCHL Player of the Week nod for his efforts in the crease. Ben Howard is 6-4-2 with a .901 SV%, a 3.09 GAA and 1 shutout.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the Cents have to continue to play bare bones hockey to be successful.

"Last night we were making the simple play more often than not and we were successful. We need that to continue and drill it in if we want to have continued success."

The Cents will look to pick up a simple win tonight.

Puck drop 6pm. Pre-Game 5:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas.

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