The Merritt Centennials were down, but not out thanks to the stellar play of Austin Roden in net. The Cents came back in the dying minutes of the third, and were able to get the winner in OT in one of the most thrilling games of the season in front of the hometown faithful.
The first period didn't begin well for the Cents, as Andre Ghantous scored after coming off the near side wall, and as a right handed shot was able to get into the slot and fire a shot low glove side on Roden to get the first goal of the game, and the only goal of the first. Roden stopped 13/14 shots sent his way in the first, while Brandon Wells stopped all 8 he faced.
The Smoke Eaters started the second period off strong, and scored on their first powerplay of the game, and it was one of the top goal scorers in the league getting it done. Ross Armour cutting through the slot from left to right, took the puck off a feed from Jeremy Lucchini, and wripped a wrister mid-blocker side on Roden.
The Cents had an opportunity to get back into the game on a lengthy penalty to Kyle Chernenkoff after Rylan Van Unen delivered a booming clean hit. Chernenkoff instigated a fight, and Van Unen just covered up. Chernenkoff got a 5 minute major for fighting, a 2 minute minor for instigating, and a game misconduct. However, the Cents squandered the lengthy powerplay opportunity by taking two penalties to skate four on four. The Cents would eventually get on the scoreboard courtesy a timely turnover. Ethan Martini attempted a clear and it went off a forwards body (possibly an unfortunate area) and the puck came to Nick Wicks in the corner, and he fed Brad Cocca in the slot and he rifled a wrister glove-side high with just over a minute to go in the third to make it 2-1. The Smoke Eaters outshot the Cents 10-2 in the second period.
That set the stage for the third period with the Cents trying to mount the comeback. They were pressing hard for the equalizer, but against the grain Kale Howarth streaked in on the outside cut to the middle uninhibited, made a move to the backhand, and Roden came up with an unbelievable stop with the glove on the line to keep the Cents within one.
The Cents rewarded their netminder with 2:22 to go in the third with a little help from their home rink. Zach Zorn cleared the puck into the zone, and Wells went out of the net to play the puck. But the puck took a friendly bounce off the glass and came out front to Brendan Schneider and he was able to pocket the gift into the empty net. At the 2:22 mark of the 3rd, number 22 made it 2-2.
That's how the game would end, and head to sudden death OT. The Cents continued pressing for the victory, and it came when Henry Cleghorn skated the puck to the right side wall, he got pinned to the wall, but got help from his linemate Zach Zorn, Zorn was able to dig the puck free and take it off the wall, he was quickly checked but worked the puck down low where Cleghorn was able to get to it, and throw it past a sprawling wells for the game winner.
After the game Head Coach Joe Martin said it came down to accountability.
"That's what we're trying to get through to our guys. Accountability, and knowing when you've hurt us in a way [out there], and the honus is on you to find a way to be better, and be accountable and take ownership of your actions."
Roden finished the game with 37 saves on 39 shots and a second star nod. The Cents will next be in action against the West Kelowna Warriors once again, this time in the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, before the Cents go on the road to take on these Smoke Eaters on Saturday in Trail.
The Cents right back in action tonight on the heels of a big loss in West Kelowna last night. The Cents found themselves in penalty trouble throughout the game racking up 50 penalty minutes in the game, but were able to hang in the match until the 3rd period began. It was 2-1 through 40 minutes of play before things took a turn for the worst in the third period. The Cents allowed 4 goals in the first 10 minutes of play in the 3rd period to go down 6-1. Jacob Berger was chased from the net after 5, the Cents answered with a goal from Christian Sabin in the 3rd, Henry Cleghorn ended up with a goal and an assist, but the Warriors went on to win 7-2.
The Cents won't have a fond memory to look back on of the Trail Smoke Eaters either as the last time the two teams played the Smokies were able to win in heart breaking fashion. The game was in late October on Parent's Weekend for the Cents and the Cents were enjoying a 3-1 lead halfway through the game before the Smoke Eaters mounted the comeback on the strength of their powerplay tying things up at 3 before the 2nd period ended. In the 3rd they got the go ahead goal from Spencer McLean before Tyrell Buckley got his second of the game to tie it up with 4 minutes to go, only to have Levi Glasman score unassisted a minute later to regain the lead and win it 5-4 for the Smoke Eaters.
The Cents will have to forget both of those haunting memories as they head into action tonight, and Head Coach Joe Martin said on the post game show last night that they need to channel their frustration into this game in a positive way. However, After losing 4-0 against the Vernon Vipers last night, the Smoke Eaters will be looking to take out their frustrations on the Cents, they also lost the Interior Division lead for the time being.
The Smoke Eaters have the most potent scoring offense in the BCHL with 111 goals fo, and only 85 against. The Cents have allowed fewer goals with 82, but they're also 30 goals behind on the goal scoring pace with 80. The Smoke Eaters boast 3 goal scorers in the top ten in the league with Ross Armour and Kale Howarth now 2nd and 3rd in league scoring with 40 and 39 points a piece, followed by the league leading rookie scorer in Levi Glasman with 29 points. They also have a threat on the back end with Jeremy Lucchini 3rd in BCHL scoring from a defenseman with 26 points. Those 26 points are 4 more than the Cents leading scorer which is now Henry Cleghorn with 22 points.
Needless to say, the Cents will have to be disciplined with not only their penalties but in all facets of the game to come out on top in this one. The Smoke Eaters now are 3rd in the league on the powerplay at 21.7% and have an 81.8% kill. The Cents slide to 5th on the powerplay at 20.5% and 6th on the penalty kill at 82.9%.
Despite leading the league in wins, the Smoke Eaters goaltenders not as hot. Brandon Wells is better statistically with a 11-7 record a 3.01 GAA and a 89.9 SV%, while Tanner Marshall is 8-1 with a 90.8SV% but a 3.24 GAA. The Cents Jacob Berger got chased from net last night, and we could see Austin Roden make another start for the team, he's 0-1-1 for the Cents, and despite allowing 2 goals in relief last night his last full game was a 50 plus save effort against the Vernon Vipers that saw him earn first star. He may have to duplicate that for the Cents to down the Smoke Eaters.
Puck Drop is at 7pm. Pre Game at 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1FM or stream online at q101.ca
The Cents came into West Kelowna looking to spoil the Warriors’ version of parents weekend, but after a tightly contested 40 minutes of play, the Warriors came to life in the third and took the game 7-2.
The first period saw the Cents on their heels early getting into penalty trouble. They wouldn’t register their first shot on net until they were down 2 men, and found themselves on a 2-on-1. That was halfway through the first period, and the Cents managed to stand tall on the penalty kill until late in the frame when RJ Murphy was able to deflect one in off a pointshot and past Jacob Berger who got the start in net.
The second period started with Cavin Tilsley in the box, and the Centennials on a rare powerplay on the night, but they weren’t able to convert. The Cents would take 5 more penalties in the period, but no goals were scored with the man advantage in the second.
The Warriors added a goal after Chase Dubois feathered a pass through neutral ice onto the stick of a streaking Parm Dhaliwal, and he went post and in mid-glove past Berger to make it 2-0 late in the second.
Just two minutes later the Cents got on the board on a bit of a lucky one. Tyrell Buckley dumped the puck in from centre and Nik Amundrud, who made the start for the Warriors, went out to play it. The puck took a strange bounce off the corner and into the slot where Henry Cleghorn was there to bat the gift into the net. The second period would end 2-1.
The third period is where the game got away. The Warriors scored two and a half minutes in after Spencer Hora walked in from the right point and beat Berger low. Two minutes later Cavin Tilsley scored after a string of saves in front, it was skated back to the line and a low wrister beat Berger to the blocker side.
Then at the 5:20 mark Brad Cocca was hit from behind, and a skirmish ensued. Tyrell Buckley and Cocca went to the box for the Cents, while Garrett Ewert and Tilsley went to the box for the Warriors, but it was Buckley who got the extra penalty. It was at this point that Joe Martin was ejected from the game. On the ensuing powerplay, the Warriors got another goal. This time from Captain Jared Marino to lead 5-1. It also ended Berger’s night in net, and Austin Roden came on in relief.
Roden made some good saves early, but he was beaten as well surrendering a goal to Jordan Todd.
Christian Sabin got a redemption goal after Cleghorn found his in the slot, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Warriors would add another one before the game was done to top the Cents 7-2.
Head Coach Joe Martin said after the game that the team needs to find a way to learn from this game.
“There’s a lot of frustration, but we need to channel this frustration and learn a lesson from this game. We can’t give the other team that many opportunities, and we have to use the frustration we feel from this game tomorrow night.”
The Cents won’t have time to dwell on this one as they will host the league leading Trail Smoke Eaters tomorrow night at 7pm. Pre Game at 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1FM or online on your desktop or device at q101.ca
The Merritt Centennials are back in action after splitting games last weekend going 1-1, the loss coming in a 50 plus save effort from Austin Roden 3-2, and the win coming from a strong first period where the Cents racked up 4 and rode those goals to a 4-1 win. They have two games on tap this weekend, against Trail and West Kelowna, but first on tap is the battle with the Warriors.
The Cents have played two games against the Warriors this season, and will look back fondly on the most recent matchup against West Kelowna, as it kicked off a 4 game unbeaten streak. The Cents won the game 5-1, got solid goaltending from Jacob Berger, controlled play with their tenacious forechecking, and beat up on the short manned Warriors. The Van Unen twins lit the lamp, Brendan Schneider had two, and Brad Cocca had the other goal for the Cents while Garrett Ewert scored his first of the season for the Warriors. However, in the first match up of the season the Warriors were the ones who controlled play, and the Cents only managed a late goal from Jack Vincent to break the shut out bid and lost 3-1.
The Warriors have gone 4-4 since their last matchup against the Cents including a couple big losses 9-2 against Wenatchee, and 11-3 against Pentiction last week, but they have gotten back to their winning ways by topping Prince George 4-2 in their most recent game. The Cents have gone 3-2-1 since last playing the Warriors including a streak where they went unbeaten in four. They were on a two game slide before righting the ship against Alberni Valley on Saturday to get back in the win column.
Both teams will be sending one representative to the World Junior 'A' Hockey Challenge main camp next week. Joe Martin will be joined by Rylan Van Unen as the lone forward that gets the call from the Cents, and the Warriors will be represented by Chase Stevenson. in 26 games with the Warriors this season Stevenson has 6 goals and 10 assists. Van Unen has 7 goals and 4 assists along with 35 penalty minutes.
Other players who lead the offense for the Warriors are Captain Jared Marino (20), Chase Dubois and Michael Ryan (19), and Parm Dhaliwal (18). The Cents are led by Zach Zorn (20), Henry Cleghorn and Nick Wicks (19), and Captain Tyrell Buckley (16). Eerily similar point totals from the top producers on each side.
In net the Warriors turn to Cole Demers and Nik Amundrud. Amundrud has been in and out of the lineup with injury, but sports a 6-6 record with a 91.3 save percenteage and a 2.87 GAA. Cole Demers has been seeing more time in the crease and since the last game between these two clubs where he was leading the league in many statistical categories, he's come back down to earth. He has a 8-3 record with a 91.9 save percentage and a 2.77 GAA.
The Cents look to Jacob Berger and Austin Roden in net. Berger picked up the win last weekend, while Roden made 50 plus saves in a losing effort, but earned first star. Berger is 8-10-2-0 with a 91.5 save percentage and a 3.04 GAA and 1 shutout. Roden has seen 9 games of action this season, and two with the Cents. He is 2-5-0-2 with a 91.4% and a 3.07 GAA. The goaltending matchup also very even.
In the special teams battle, the Cents now up to 3rd in the league on the powerplay going 22.1% while the Warriors are 9th converting at 19%. On the penalty kill, the Warriors have the edge with 83.9% good enough for 4th in the league, while the Cents are 6th with an 82.6% kill rate.
Assistant Coach Brandon Shaw says that the Warriors have some tricks, but the Cents should be ready.
"West Kelowna has a bigger team, they like to draw you in and put pucks behind you into the white ice. It's going to be just staying disciplined, staying disciplined in our systems, staying disciplined between the dots, and we should be okay."
Puck Drop is at 7pm at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna. Pre Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1FM, or stream on your desktop or device at q101.ca.
The World Junior 'A' Hockey Challenge is approaching and the Merritt Centennials will have two representatives among the 60 when main camp opens on December 2nd.
One of them has already made the team as Head Coach and General Manager of the Cents Joe Martin was named an Assistant Coach for Canada West early last month, but the lone player from the Centennials that will get the opportunity to play for team Canada is forward Rylan Van Unen.
With 7 goals and 4 assists throughout the season, Van Unen has shown flashes of brilliance, and possesses one of the best shots on the team to go along with break away speed. He's also not afraid of physicality as he's second on the team with 35 penalty minutes on the year. Martin says the speed and skill will help, but the grit is what Canada West could be looking for.
"You know in order for him to make the team, he has to play very hard, play in straight lines, finish his checks, and bring a 4th line mentality to that group. Going through the selection process, and the players that are on the list, I don't think there's a heck of a lot of that."
Canada West last won the title in 2015, and Canada East was runner up last year.