Merritt Centennials
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The Merritt Centennials went out on their shields in their final game of the season, but ultimately fell to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-2.

In the first period the Silverbacks opened the scoring on the powerplay with a goal from Rybarik to make it 1-0. Captain Rylan Van Unen quickly answered for the Cents after being set up by Manty and Matsui in front he went top corner hockey for the final goal of his Junior career. Ryan Winter kept the team in it throughout the first with timely saves when they were under fire with 22 shots from the 'Backs. Christian Buono was able to score off a faceoff play to give the Cents the one goal lead despite spending a lot of the period in their own zone.

The second period was filled with neutral zone play, back and forth,but neither team could find a foot hold. Then with the Centennials on a late powerplay a shot rung round for a short handed break out and William Poirier scored for the Silverbacks. The mental mistakes continued for the Cents as shortly thereafter Salmon Arm would add another in the goal mouth from Unruh to make it 3-2.

Despite a big push from the Centennials in the third period, they couldn't find the back of the net and the Silverbacks would hang on for the win.

Ryan Winter made 37/40 saves in his final junior game.

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said that he was proud of the effort the team showed in the final game and throughout the season.

"The boys showed through this final stretch what kind of team they were. With all the changes throughout the year it took us a while to figure out what kind of identity we had. I'm proud of the effort they showed throughout this final stretch."

The Cents would like to thank the fans who stuck with them through thick and thin throughout the season.

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The Merritt Centennials (14-39-1-3) finish their season against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (29-23-4-1) this afternoon.

Last night the Merritt Centennials scored their 2nd win in their 'No Bull' Ty Pozzobon third jerseys by their second big score 7-4 over the Trail Smoke Eaters. The offense was flowing early for the Merritt Centennials who after killing a penalty got a goal on the rush after Talon Zakall set up Daniel Tkac back door to open the scoring 1-0 just 2:34 into the game. Michael Collela scored top corner off a faceoff play to tie the game at 1's just 2 minutes later. Late in the frame, Owen Ozar snuck behind the D to break in all alone from the blue line and dangle in on Winter to make it 2-1, and that's where the game would be after 20 minutes. In the 2nd frame, the Centennials came out flying led by their Captain Rylan Van Unen in his final home game at the NVMA. After putting some early pressure on, the Captain caused a turnover at the blue line then dangled in around a man and then slipped the puck five-hole to make it 2-2. Christian Buono followed that up by flying up the left wing, and despite having an option on the other side, he kept and sniped top corner to restore the Cents lead 3-2. Talon Zakall opened up a 2 goal lead after he jumped up in the rush and Evan Benwell found him back door to make it 4-2 at the 10:05 mark. Brophy Dunne then took a boarding penalty against Collela and the Smoke Eaters' Chase Dafoe quickly scored on the powerplay to make it 4-3. On the ensuing shift, Owen Ozar danced into the zone and deked out the team but got tied up at the final moment to draw a penalty shot. He made no mistake with the free break in to tie the game 4-4. With the Cents on a powerplay it was the Captain who book ended the period with another goal, this one from the point with traffic in front to restore the one goal edge 5-4. In an effort to spark their team, the Smoke Eaters swapped to Logan Terness to start the 3rd period, but the gamble didn't pay off as Payton Matsui danced to the slot and fired top corner to make it 6-4. On a follow up play, Ben Ward went crashing to the net and Terness was swapped back in favor of Matteo Paler Chow. Ben Ward would add another one for the Cents in the third to make it 7-4, and the despite the Smoke Eaters scoring one late to make it 7-5 the Cents would hang on for the win. 

The Silverbacks faced the same Smoke Eaters club on Friday night and suffered a 5-1 defeat. With the loss the Silverbacks are limping into the last game of the season having gone 2-3 over their last 5. Despite the loss to the Smoke Eaters they were able to come away with a gutsy 5-4 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs. The last time on home ice they lost 4-1 to Wenatchee and before that lose to the Cents last week 4-2 on Brian Barrett night. The Silverbacks come into this game with something to play for however. With a regulation win they could vault into home ice advantage in the playoffs and depending how the tie breakers go even have a shot at 3rd place in the Interior division to secure a trip to the Island to take on the Grizzlies. The Cents will face a team not only hungry to go out strong on home ice, but also a team hungry to improve their playoff seeding. The Cents have been playing with pride in their final two weekends, and are looking to continue that trend. 

The season series has been a wild one. The Cents own a 2-2-1 record against the 'Backs and every game has been close. The series opener was a tight 4-3 OT loss on the road, but the Cents followed that up with a 6-5 win at the NVMA. A double header at the turn of January to February saw the Silverbacks take both games 6-2 and 5-3, but the Cents have the most recent success with that 4-2 win on Brian Barrett night. The Silverbacks have been able to pick up wins at home however, and the Cents will be looking to spoil the part at the Shaw Centre for the first time this season. 

Offense was coming from all over the lineup last night on Ty Pozzobon night, and the Cents will look for that to continue in their finale. Payton Matsui now has 43 points, Christian Buono with a snipe last night is up to 37, Thomas Manty has 33, and fresh off a 4 point night Daniel Tkac has shot up to 32 points. 

The Silverbacks are led by their Captain Akito Hirose with 51 points, Noah Wakeford is just behind with 50, and Daniel Rybarik is the big goal scoring threat with 30 goals and 48 points. 

The special teams battle sees the Cents continuing to improve to the end. 

Powerplay:                                     Penalty Kill: 

Cents - 13% (17th)                   Cents - 72.4% (17th)

'Backs - 19.1% (8th)                'Backs - 77.1% (14th)

Ryan Winter will be looking to close out his junior career with a win after staring down the Smoke Eaters last night. Winter is 6-19-1 with a .891 SV%, a 4.40 GAA, and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is waiting in the wings with a 7-19 record, a .882 SV% and a 4.86 GAA. 

In a must-win situation, you'd think the Silverbacks would turn to Ethan Langenegger for his final tune up before the playoffs. He has been a workhorse this year going 22-15-2 with a .907 SV%, a 2.81 GAA and 3 shutouts. Grant Adams is 4-4-1 with a .904 SV% and a 2.99 GAA. 

After the game last night, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the team needs to bring that positive energy to their final test of the year. 

"It just makes such a huge difference when the guys are on the bench supporting each other, cheering for each other, and thinking positive about the next shift."

The Cents will look to end their 2019-20 campaign on a positive note this afternoon. 

Puck drop 3pm. Pregame 2:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve. 

A reminder to check out the Online 50/50 Jackpot for Beyond Fitness which is sitting at over $3000 here where you can enter Canada wide for as little as a toonie here: https://centsweekly5050.thelottofactory.com/

and the 'No Bull' 3rd Jersey Auction at www.32auctions.com/nobull

 

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The Merritt Centennials scored their 2nd win in their 'No Bull' Ty Pozzobon third jerseys by their second big score 7-4 over the Trail Smoke Eaters.

The offense was flowing early for the Merritt Centennials who after killing a penalty got a goal on the rush after Talon Zakall set up Daniel Tkac back door to open the scoring 1-0 just 2:34 into the game. Michael Collela scored top corner off a faceoff play to tie the game at 1's just 2 minutes later. Late in the frame, Owen Ozar snuck behind the D to break in all alone from the blue line and dangle in on Winter to make it 2-1, and that's where the game would be after 20 minutes. Shots after 1 were 13-11 Smoke Eaters.

In the 2nd frame, the Centennials came out flying led by their Captain Rylan Van Unen in his final home game at the NVMA. After putting some early pressure on, the Captain caused a turnover at the blue line then dangled in around a man and then slipped the puck five-hole to make it 2-2. Christian Buono followed that up by flying up the left wing, and despite having an option on the other side, he kept and sniped top corner to restore the Cents lead 3-2. Talon Zakall opened up a 2 goal lead after he jumped up in the rush and Evan Benwell found him back door to make it 4-2 at the 10:05 mark. Brophy Dunne then took a boarding penalty against Collela and the Smoke Eaters' Chase Dafoe quickly scored on the powerplay to make it 4-3. On the ensuing shift, Owen Ozar danced into the zone and deked out the team but got tied up at the final moment to draw a penalty shot. He made no mistake with the free break in to tie the game 4-4. With the Cents on a powerplay it was the Captain who book ended the period with another goal, this one from the point with traffic in front to restore the one goal edge 5-4. Shots after 2 were 27-24 Smoke Eaters.

In an effort to spark their team, the Smoke Eaters swapped to Logan Terness to start the 3rd period, but the gamble didn't pay off as Payton Matsui danced to the slot and fired top corner to make it 6-4. On a follow up play, Ben Ward went crashing to the net and Terness was swapped back in favor of Matteo Paler Chow. Ben Ward would add another one for the Cents in the third to make it 7-4, and the despite the Smoke Eaters scoring one late to make it 7-5 the Cents would hang on for the win. Final shots were 37-36 Smoke Eaters.

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said he was proud of the guys battling through especially on Mental Health Night.

"The guys got a great fire up speech from Assistant Coach Zach Wright, and came ready to play. From top to bottom everyone was working hard, and we came up with the 60 minute effort again."

The Centennials will look to finish the season strong against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks tomorrow afternoon at 3pm.

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The Merritt Centennials (13-39-1-3) take on Interior Division foes the Trail Smoke Eaters (36-16-2-2) on Ty Pozzobon Mental Health Night.

The Centennials mental health has been improving of late as their play on the ice has been improving. They are 3-2 in their last 5 in the late goings of the season, and will look to finish strong on home ice in their final game of the season in front of the faithful at the NVMA. The Centennials are coming off a weekend where they took 2 of 3, and took both home games before running out of gas with the short bench against the Vipers. The Cents had a gutsy 4-2 win against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, an offensive explosion against former Head Coach Joe Martin and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs winning 7-4, but as mentioned the Cents couldn't keep up their torrid pace with the short bench against the Vipers falling 5-1. A pair of Cents are coming off honorable mentions in the BCHL Player of the Week - Thomas Manty had 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points over 3 games, while Talon Zakall had a goal and 5 assists for 6 points over 3 games. The Cents will look to set the tone to finish off the season right against the Trail Smoke Eaters.

The Smokies are coming in with a 3-2 record of their own in the last 5 after being in action last night against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and winning 5-1. Chase Dafoe had a breakout game after being thrust into a larger role as he scored a hat trick. Costello had a goal in the first period and Jaden Senkoe had a momentum stopping goal against the Silverbacks when they tried to answer the bell for a 3rd period push while goaltender Logan Terness picked up win number 27 on the year. Before that they were able to get past West K 5-2, dropped a 5-2 decision to the BCHL's best Coquitlam Express, they won 5-0 against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, and lost to the Vernon Vipers 5-3. The Smoke Eaters are going to be heading into their final game of action on the season, and they rested Kent Johnson last night against Salmon Arm. There's a chance the Cents could see a few more of the top guns kept out tonight, and it would be to the Cents advantage.

The season series doesn't look too pretty from the Centennials perspective if you just look at the score line. With the addition of a game at the BCHL Showcase the Cents are 0-6 against the Smoke Eaters this season. The losses have come in all shapes and all sizes 7-1, 9-2, 6-3, 5-2, 6-4, and 4-3. The Smoke Eaters even without their top guns will be a threat offensively, and the Cents will have to bring their best effort of the season series to come away with victory.

The Centennials are looking for more contributions from their leading scorers. Payton Matsui has shot up to 42 points, Christian Buono has 35 points, and Thomas Manty leads rookies with 33 points. Talon Zakall is next in line and leads the Cents defense with 27 points and is also playing in his 100th regular season BCHL game tonight.

The Smoke Eaters are led by Kent Johnson who has 101 points, Michael Collela has 65 points, Owen Ozar has 63, and Captain Phillipe Lapointe has 54 points. For those wondering how former Cent Matt Osadick is doing in the black and orange - he has 11 points in 14 games with Trail.

The special teams battle sees the Cents coming in with a bit of momentum with the extra man, but they'll be going up against the 3rd ranked power play and penalty kill.

Power Play:                            Penalty Kill:

Cents - 13.1% (17th)     Cents - 72.1% (17th)

Trail - 23% (3rd)               Trail - 86.3% (3rd)

The goaltending duel will be an intriguing one in terms of decisions. Ryan Winter, the 20 year old, should get the start in his final home game of his junior career. Winter is 5-19-1 with an .892 SV%, a 4.38 GAA, and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is 7-19 with an .882 SV% and a 4.86 GAA.

Fellow 20 year old Matteo Paler Chow is 12-11-1 with an .883 SV% and a 3.57 GAA. Logan Terness is 27-9-2 with a .932 SV%, a 2.35 GAA and 1 shutout.

Assistant Coach Zach Wright says the team will be refreshed after a tough 3 in 3 stretch.

"At the end of the last game, the boys were running on empty, but now with a full week to recharge they'll be looking to finish off strong."

The Cents will look to hit refresh in the win column against the Smoke Eaters tonight.

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

Tonight is Mental Health night in support of the Ty Pozzobon foundation. Show up early to take in a pregame ceremony with the Pozzobon's and a special announcement. A&W will also be a game night sponsor with a Cents Signed Jersey up for grabs with a SHOOT TO WIN on the Root Bear in the 1st intermission. Musical Chairs with the Bear in the 2nd intermission.

Also a reminder to fans near and far (Canada wide) that you can sign up for the Planet Fitness Online Weekly 50/50 that has a jackpot of over $3000 here: https://centsweekly5050.thelottofactory.com/

 

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The Merritt Centennials ran out of steam in their final game of the weekend against the Vernon Vipers and fell by a score of 5-1.

The first period didn’t start the way the Centennials hoped as in the first minute Matt Kowalski failed a Michigan attempt but the puck went right to the goal mouth for Ryan Shostak who scored to make it 1-0 early on. Shostak would add another one in the first period set up by Kowalski back door to make it 2-0, and the Cents would find themselves in a hole early. Tanner Marshall had a buzzer beating save in the dying seconds on a breakaway to keep the team trailing by two. Shots after one were 16-9 Vernon.

Brophy Dunne was able to answer early for the Cents in the second period with a floater from the blue line top corner to make it 2-1, but Jack Glen and the Vipers would answer a couple minutes later to make it 3-1, and despite plenty of pressure throughout the second and 16 shots thrown on the Cents couldn’t add another one. Shots after 2 were 25-25.

In the third with the Cents needing one early to give them a shot of adrenaline to the legs, it was the Vipers who’d add another one early in the third from Bulawka. The Vipers would then get an early powerplay, and Jackson Caller would convert to make it 5-1. The Cents ran out of gas in the third and only mustered 3 shots to the Vipers 20. Final shots were 45-28.

After the game Assistant Coach Zach Wright said the chances were there, but the Cents couldn’t convert.

“The boys were putting the pressure on in that 2nd period and you felt if they could get one it could turn the game around. We couldn’t find it and we ran out of legs.”

The Cents will look to get back in the win column in their final game on home ice this Saturday – Ty Pozzobon Mental Health Night. This Wednesday you can join the team at Empty Keg Brewhouse from 5-9pm for the last meet and greet of the season.

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