Merritt Centennials
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Werenka

The Centennials are off to Chilliwack this morning to begin the BCHL Showcase. The showcase is an opportunity for the players to impress the scouts, but two points are still on the line.

Despite being new to the Cents Olsen Werenka is well aware of the importance of this week’s pair of rivalry games.

“Even at Chapel the other day the Chaplin was talking about how we face the old coach. Then Trail being pretty successful this year so far, and of course, last year in the playoffs beating the Centennials out. There’s been some talk around the room, for me it’s all-new but there’s been quite a bit of talk,” said Olson.

Olson fully admitted to being a bit of a ‘hothead’ in seasons past, getting into fights and receiving a couple of suspensions, a reputation he’s hoping to shed in Merritt.

“Looking to get a scholarship, I don’t think it’s (fighting) as much of a part of the game anymore, but you have to protect your teammates,” said Olson. “I think the officials do know who I am. So, it’s tough to get the reputation out, obviously last year a couple of fights, a couple of suspensions. Trying to get myself back in the good books with them again.”

Last weekend the Cents picked up a massive 2-1 OT win over Wenatchee, but it wasn’t the two points that mattered, it was the shift in the attitude and feeling around the club, which could pay dividends moving forward.

“I think we’re going in the right way. In practice, we’re working continuously two-hours a day on systems, and he has us working hard, every practice, every day. I think we’re coming a long way, we’re getting on the right track here,” said Olson.

While the entire 60-minute effort may be the actual turning point of the season for the Cents, it was a moment before OT that may serve as the symbolic one. With the game tied at 1-1, Brophy Dunne went back to minor hockey with a ‘Cents on three’ chant.

“It was a spur of the moment thing, I think the boys liked it, I’m not sure. We were kind of surprised that he did it,” said Olson. “I could be a ritual now; we’re probably going to need to try it next game and see where it goes.”

Coach Barry Wolff and Derek Sweet-Coulter through a wrench into the defense lines last week, dressing seven defensemen, a move Olson was surprised by, but a move he liked.

“I think it’s nice so people can get a break, switch it up, it just gives us more options,” said Olson. “I didn’t mind it, I thought it was a good thing.”

Catch Olson and the rest of the Cents this afternoon in Chilliwack for the BCHL Showcase versus Joe Martin and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs right here on Q101. Check the time, the pregame starts at 4:15 with Jared Thomas.

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Cents vs Wen

In the words of Jared Thomas and Cents broadcasters before him “Cents Win, Cents Win, Cents Win.”

It was a tight-checking 60-minute contest that settled nothing, and with the score level at ones, they skated three aside. After a flurry of action in front of Cents netminder Tanner Marshall, Brett Roloson broke out the other way and found Joey Berkopec streaking to the net for the winner.


Positives;

Tanner Marshall standing tall. Coming off a mid-week loss in Coquitlam where he allowed six goals against, Tanner Marshall proved he has all the tools to man the blue paint. He was calm, cool and collected all night long and in OT made game-saving stop after game-saving stop.

Defensive effort. In a building that normally sees shot totals in the low forties, the Merritt Centennials limited the Wenatchee Wild to only 25 on target. They were successful in clearing the zone on their first opportunity and limiting the Wild’s second chance opportunities.

The line of Josh Kagan, Matt Osadick, and Thomas Manty. Despite Kagan being acquired mid-week from Cowichan, the trio was flying around the ice, looking like they had years of chemistry between them. They didn’t manage to bulge the twine but showed they could be a line to be reckoned with moving forward.


Negatives;

Discipline. While the Cents headed off to the sin bin far less than in games past, only three times. They did so for unnecessary infractions. In the first, Tyson Galloway went off for three or four too many crosschecks to the back, he then got a misconduct for disagreeing with the call. In the third Kagan went to the box for a double minor for spearing. There is such thing as good penalties, these aren’t them, these are lack of discipline.

 

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The Merritt Centennials got the better of the Wenatchee Wild for the first time in the young season, and end the month of September on a high note after winning in overtime 2-1.

Tanner Marshall led the team out of the gate to start the 1st and early on was a difference maker with a couple key saves. The first period and really the game was very free wheeling through the neutral zone, but tight checking in the respective offensive zones and it resulted in very few shots, but the ones that did get through the goalies had to be sharp on. The Cents and Wild were scoreless until a late penalty in the first gave Wenatchee’s leading scorer Caferelli an opportunity to set up Brian Adams in front. The Wild took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes with shots just 11-7 in favour of Wenatchee.

It didn’t take long to get the party started in the 2nd period as Spencer Schneider would score his first goal in the BCHL just 15 seconds into the frame on a wrap around try that had just enough to beat Chenard past the post. With the game tied at 1’s the Cents really tried to look for the go ahead through the early goings of the 2nd, but couldn’t buy one for trying. Shots after 2 were just 15-15 as both teams were playing tight defensively and blocking a lot of rubber before it hit the net.

The third period didn’t solve anything despite some solid end to end play. The scariest moment came when the Cents had to kill off a 4 minute double minor to newcomer Josh Kagan. After the kill, the teams cautiously traded chances until the final buzzer. Shots after 60 minutes were 23-21 for the Wild.

In overtime it was Tanner Marshall who should get credit for keeping the team in it early on. A couple big chances by the Wild were stopped with the netminders desperation saves. One of those saves bounced to Brett Roloson who skated the puck cross ice and cautiously into the zone with a hard charging Joey Berkopec going to the net with his stick on the ice. Roloson threaded the perfect saucer pass to Berkopec in stride and Berkopec beat Chenard upstairs for the game winner.

After the game, Assistant Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said it was a turning point game for the team.

“I felt it was really the first game we saw the bench get behind eachother. You could feel the positivity, and that’s infectious.”

It sets the stage for a couple big rivalry matchups against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the Trail Smoke Eaters at the BCHL Showcase.

ENERGY PLAYER: Matt Osadick 0G 0A

3rd STAR: Spencer Schneider 1G 0A

2nd STAR: Tanner Marshall 24/25 Saves

1st STAR: Joey Berkopec 1G  

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The Merritt Centennials (1-5) look for revenge against the Wenatchee Wild (5-1-0-1) tonight. 

It was just last Saturday that these teams last met in Wenatchee, and each club has had a chance to play a game in between. The Cents faced the Mainland Division leading Coquitlam Express on Wednesday night and weren't able to best the best on the coast. For the first time this season the Cents had a lead after twenty minutes of play. The Express opened the scoring after some end to end action, but leading scorer Daniel Tkac was able to find a loose puck in front of the net and quickly snipe it top corner to tie the game at 1's. Matt Osadick then got his first goal of the year on a goaltender gaffe after the Coquitlam centre won the faceoff and it slipped past their goaltender. In the second period, the lead quickly evaporated after the Cents got into penalty killing trouble. The Express scored 3 unanswered in the second to make it a 4-2 game heading into the third. The third period saw the Express get another goal, before Payton Matsui was able to answer the bell for the Centennials, but the Express quickly responded to make it a 6-3 final. Tanner Marshall got his first start of the season, and despite allowing 6 goals he made some quality desperation saves that held the Cents in the game. 

The Wild are coming off action last night against the Chilliwack Chiefs which saw them fall for the first time in regulation 6-2. Brian Adams and Dallas Farell scored in the losing effort, but the Chiefs were perfect on the powerplay that went 3/3 on the night. Daniel Chenard picked recorded his first loss of the season against his former club. 

The season series sits at 0-2 on the side of the Centennials against the Wild so far. They fell 3-1 in the season opener against the Wild, and then had a rough ride in their first road game of the year in Wenatchee. Last Saturday the Wild took it to the Centennials over 60 minutes of play and were relentless on the forecheck. As a result, the Cents couldn't muster much offense and it was Daniel Tkac who carried the mail scoring on a centering feed from Brett Rolson, and a penalty shot. Unfortunately, the Cents would only get within 1 before Wenatchee regained control and got a late empty netter to make it 5-1. 

The Cents have added some offense this week by bringing aboard Josh Kagan from the Cowichan Valley Capitals who becomes the teams leading scorer with 4 goals and 3 assists. Daniel Tkac shares the lead with 7 points as well, with Brett Rolson providing 4 points. 

The Wild are led by Nick Cafarelli with 9 points, Captain Brian Adams has 6, and several others have 4 points in a score by committee club. 

The special teams battle sees the Cents special teams starting to cool off. Their powerplay has been shut down for the last two games straight, and their penalty kill is the worst in the league. 

Powerplay:                                  Penalty Kill: 

Cents - 14.8% (11th)             Cents - 70.6% (17th)

Wild - 12.8% (14th)               Wild - 81.5% (10th)

In net the Cents got a good performance from Tanner Marshall despite the score. He's 0-1 with a .846 SV% and a 6.00 GAA. Ryan Winter is 1-4 with a .905 SV% and a 4.08 GAA. 

The Wild suffered their first loss in regulation last night, but both goalies have topped the Cents. Daniel Chenard is 4-1 with a .915 SV% and a 2.47 GAA. Noah Altman is 1-0 with a .905 SV% and a 2.01 GAA. 

Assistant Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the Cents have to be better at putting the puck in a good spot to win the battles.

"We play our best when we chip and chase, and put ourselves in a position to win battles. We need to make sure we are winning them tonight."

The Cents will look to win the war tonight against the Wenatchee Wild. 

Puck Drop 7pm. Pre-Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve on Q101 and HockeyTV. 

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The Merritt Centennials announced today that they have acquired forward Joshua Kagan (00) from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in exchange for future considerations.

Kagan, a Winnepeg, Manitoba native, spent last season with the Winkler Flyers in the MJHL before coming over to the Capitals this year. With the Flyers he had 11 goals, 14 assists and 25 points over 48 games. At 5'11 and 165 pounds, the left shot winger has been one of the leading scorers for the Capitals with 4 goals and 3 assists in 7 games played.

Head Coach Barry Wolff says that he's glad to be adding some offense to the lineup.

"Josh is a kid that I had the chance to watch last year in the Manitoba league. He has a lot of skill, and early on he's proven he can transfer those skills to the BCHL. We look forward to having him in the dressing room and on the ice."

Unfortunately, the Cents will no longer be procuring the services of Jerzy Orchard from the Kamloops Blazers after his rights were acquired by the Saskatoon Blades.

Kagan will get a chance to be in the lineup on Saturday night when the Centennials welcome the Wenatchee Wild to the NVMA for a 7pm puck drop.

A reminder to check out the Centennials online weekly 5050 where you can play for as little as a toonie here: https://centsweekly5050.thelottofactory.com/

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