Merritt Centennials
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The Merritt Centennials gave it all they had, including a powerplay goal, against the Wenatchee Wild but couldn’t quite find the equalizer in a 6-4 final.

The Cents didn’t come out with the same jump they had the night previous, and the Wild were able to pounce. Hunter Hastings scored 5 minutes in to make it 1-0, and the Cents had a powerplay that looked good but couldn’t convert to keep it scoreless. Shots after 1 were 15-7 as Marshall held the Cents in it early in his second consecutive start.

The 2nd period starting off more to the Cents liking. Josh Kagan swept his stick at the blueline to cause a turnover, picked the puck up, and then deked Altman out of his shorts to tie the game at 1-1. After tying the game, the Cents took their foot off the pedal and the Wild were able to bounce back with two unanswered goals from Trevor Griebel  and Tyler Young. Then Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter put three of the four top scorers on a line together in Kagan, Tkac, and Roloson and it started to pay dividends. Brett Roloson was the dish master as he put the puck on a platter for Daniel Tkac and he smacked it home past Altman to bring the Cents within one at 3-2. Just over two minutes later, it was the youngest Cent Tyson Galloway scoring his first BCHL goal to tie the game. He drove the net, and again Roloson was able to feather a pass to make it 3-3. Shots after 2 periods were 26-11 Wenatchee.

After battling for the tie, it was the Wild who came out strong to start the third. Scoring just two minutes in and then adding another goal before the 5 minute mark to get a two goal lead. The Cents to their credit didn’t give up, and slowly started to turn the tide. They didn’t convert on their second opportunity of the game, but third time was the charm as with Tanner Main in the box, Troy Quinn was able to snipe one from the blue line that went top corner to bring the Cents within 1. Unfortunately, that would be as close as they’d get because with the net empty the Wild were able to ice the game to make it a 6-4 final. Marshall was swapped with Winter after allowing the 5th goal to try and spark the team. Marshall stopped 26/31 while Winter stopped 5/5.

After the game, Derek Sweet Coulter said it was good to see the fight and compete in the guys.

“We are starting to come together as a team, and even though the result wasn’t there the effort was. We went winless but there was a lot of positives from this game.”

The Cents look to reset for a home and home against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks next weekend on Friday and Saturday night.

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Game 2 of the double header goes tonight as the Centennials (4-13) look to bump a 3 game slump against the Wenatchee Wild (10-8-1-1) tonight. 

The Centennials had a solid opening frame down in Wenatchee and did everything but score. Chances went off the side of the net, a powerplay nearly converted, goaltending was strong, and the Cents ran most of the course of play. However, it was the Wild who would score against the grain as leading scorer Nick Cafarelli drove wide on the wraparound then got a bounce off Brophy Dunne's skate and in to make it 1-0.

The 2nd period didn't see the Cents come out with as much fire, and a giveaway at center led to the puck in the Cents net. Joey Berkopec threw the puck up ice from the defensive zone, but it landed on the stick of Drake Usher and he walked right up the middle and ripped a shot from between the hashmarks that beat Marshall upstairs to make it 2-0. Josh Kagan and the Cents were able to answer late in the period when Kagan went down the left wing and fired a shot through the legs of Noah Altman to make it 2-1. 

The Cents came out in the third with some fire, and after surviving the minute to win it scored the equalizer. Josh Kagan found Brett Roloson in front and Roloson baffled the goalie by putting it on net with a one handed poke to make it 2-2. Then the Wild woke up and really started going to work. Cafarelli found Harrison Scott to make it 3-2, then Brian Adams bulged the twine in front on a goal that was initially called off, and Hunter Hastings added the icing with another. In the span of 5 minutes the Cents went to having the game in their grasp to falling too far behind. The team needs to be better at not allowing those lapses of strong play to last too long, and not allow the swings in momentum to be too great. 

Wenatchee will most likely stick with Noah Altman in the crease as Daniel Chenard is down with injury and they are using an emergency back up. The top line of Cafarelli, Young, and Adams really stirred the drink for the Wild last night, and the Cents can't get too focused on the puck carrier like they did a few times when that line was on the ice. 

Josh Kagan picked up two more points and continues to pace the offense with 17 points. Payton Matsui was held off the scoresheet, but has 12 points, and Brett Rolson and Daniel Tkac bumped their mini slumps and sit at 10 points each. 

Nick Cafarelli is the star that the Cents have to watch out for on the Wild, he has 19 points. Tyler Young is the set up man with 15 assists and 18 points. Captain Brian Adams and Brett Chorske both have 16 points. 

The Cents had a good looking powerplay last night, and played very disciplined in a game that only had 3 penalties in total. However, they were unable to bump their slump, but for the first time in a long time they did not allow a powerplay goal against. 

Powerplay:                            Penalty Kill: 

Cents - 5.4% (17th)          Cents - 67.6% (17th)

Wild - 23.5% (3rd)             Wild - 78.3% (12th)

The goaltending duel sees another likely swap in net tonight. Ryan Winter is 2-8 with a .907 SV%, a 3.83 GAA, and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is 2-5 with a .885 SV% and a 4.16 GAA. 

Noah Altman will likely get the call again for Wenatchee. He's 4-4 with an .884 SV% and a 3.50 GAA. 

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says that the team needs to push back during those fragile moments.

"When we let a goal in the natural response is to hang your head, but we need to make sure that at those times we are pushing back and looking to get back in the game."

The Cents will look to push back with a win tonight. 

Puck drop 7pm from the Town Toyota Center. Pre-Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101 and HockeyTV. 

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The Merritt Centennials were able to pull the game into a tie in the final frame, but the Wild were able to come up with 3 unanswered goals in the third to make it a 5-2 final.

The first period saw the Cents come out flying despite the bus legs and ran play for the majority of the period. A couple chances went off the side of the net with daylight behind Noah Altman that the Cents just weren’t quite able to cash in. Then late in the frame it was the Wild who capitalized against the grain with leading scorer Nick Cafarelli driving wide on a wrap around and banking it in off of Brophy Dunne to make it 1-0. Shots after 1 were 13 a side.

Despite running play for nearly the full 20 in the first, the Cents were flat footed to start the second and Drake Usher was able to capitalize. After a turnover at center, he skated the puck right up the middle and was untouched until he reached the hashmarks and ripped a shot over Marshall to make it 2-0. Josh Kagan was able to answer last in the frame for Merritt on a partial breakaway where he fired a shot between the legs of Altman to make it 2-1. Shots after 2 were 28-26 Wild.

After surviving the minute to win it madness in Wenatchee, the Cents were able to find the back of the net. A feed from Josh Kagan to the slot was poked in one-handed by Brett Roloson through the legs of Altman to tie the game at 2’s. Unfortunately for the Cents, they took their foot off the petal after that point and the Wild were able to get back in the game. Once again it was Nick Cafarelli who drove wide and then found Harrison Scott wide open to the slot, and he was able to beat Marshall up high. Then just over a minute later Captain Brian Adams banged home a goal mouth scramble. Hunter Hastings then took the game out of reach with a goal at the 12:30 mark and the Cents weren’t able to battle back only throwing 4 shots on net in the final frame. Final shots were 45 to 30 Wild.

The Cents look to reset for game 2 of the double header tomorrow night. Same time, same place. 7pm puck drop from the Town Toyota Center.

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The Merritt Centennials (4-12) try to get back on the winning track when they faceoff against the Wenatchee Wild (9-8-1-1) in Wenatchee for the first game of a double header tonight.

The Cents are looking to bump a two game skid. After possibly their best two outings in the season against the West Kelowna Warriors and the Langley Rivermen, the Cents have had trouble against some of the leagues top offenses in the Penticton Vees and the Chilliwack Chiefs. On Wednesday night, the Chiefs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in a 2 minute span in the first ten minutes of the game and the Cents had a goal waved off, a couple of two-man advantages but couldn't cash in. The Cents also lost the services of Josh Van Unen in the first period, and there's a good chance he won't see action this weekend. In the second period, the Chiefs added another tally on the board with a shot through the crowd that snuck through and beat Winter to make it 3-0. The final frame was the roughest on the scoreboard for the Cents as the Chiefs converted early on a powerplay, and then were able to capitalize even further when Ben Ward was called for a kneeing major penalty. The lone bright spot was the Cents scoring shorthanded in the third period on a 2-on-1 rush from Wyatt Marlow and Chase Nameth. Nameth was able to get some vindication against his former club, but the Cents didn't get anymore vindication on the scoreboard in a 7-1 loss. The Cents look to regroup quickly to take on a division rival, and avenge a lopsided loss the last time they were down in Wenatchee.

The Wild are on a three game slide of their own after facing some of the top offenses in the Interior Division. The Salmon Arm Silverbacks were able to take both games of their double header last weekend by scores of 8-5 and 4-2. The Wild were also in action on Wednesday where they fell to the red hot Trail Smoke Eaters 5-1. Harrison Scott was the lone goal scorer, as the Smokies pulled away through the final 40 minutes of play. The Wild will be looking to reset and defend their den with ferocity.

This will be the fourth game of the season series and the Wild have the edge 2-1. They took the season opener by a score of 3-1, and won the only game in Wenatchee so far by a score of 5-2. However, the Cents have the most recent victory with a gutsy 2-1 victory in overtime where Tanner Marshall played lights out and the Cents got the OT thriller from Joey Berkopec. The Cents are hoping for an effort more akin to the 2-1 victory to take into enemy territory.

Josh Kagan saw his 5 game point streak snapped, but he still paces the Cents with 15 points. Payton Matsui isn't far off the pace with 12 points, while Brett Roloson and Daniel Tkac are holding at 9 points.

The Wild have been scoring by committee this year. Nick Cafarelli leads the way with 16 points, Brett Chorske and Tyler Young have 15, while Captain Brian Adams cuts in with 14 points.

The special teams battle sees the Cents continuing to slump and looking to improve, while the Wild are much improved with the extra man.

Powerplay:                            Penalty Kill:

Cents - 5.6% (17th)          Cents - 67.1% (17th)

Wild - 23.7% (3rd)            Wild - 77.8% (14th)

The goaltending has been feast or famine for the Centennials of late, and their hoping to feast on another great performance tonight. Tanner Marshall is 2-4 with an .884 SV% and a 4.01 GAA. Ryan Winter is now 2-8 with a .907 SV%, a 3.83 GAA, and 1 shutout.

The Wild netminders have solid goals against, but the percentages aren't where they'd want them to be. Daniel Chenard is 6-4-1 with an .897 SV%, a 2.73 GAA, and 1 shutout. Noah Altman is 3-4 with an .877 SV%, a 3.72 GAA, and 1 shutout.

Derek Sweet Coulter says the team needs to bring some of the non-negotiables tonight.

"We have to get back to bringing that compete level. That's the strength of our team, and it needs to be there on every shift."

The Cents will hope to negotiate a win tonight.

Puck drop 7pm from Town Toyota Centre. Pre-Game at 6:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas.

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The Merritt Centennials announced the acquisition of Jake Mclean (02) from the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for future considerations.

Mclean, who hails from North Vancouver, got into 9 games with the defending champion Spruce Kings this season registering a goal and an assist over that span. Last season, his first and only in the BC Major Midget League, saw him put up over a point-per-game with the Vancouver North West Hawks. Over 40 games he was able to put up 19 goals and 29 assists for 48 points.

Director of Hockey Operations John Stuart says the Mclean brings a lot to the table.

"Jake is an elite skater, he's very skilled, knows how to distribute the puck and put it in the back of the net when needed. We are very excited to get him into the lineup and have him join he team."

In order to make room for Mclean, the Centennials have released forward Isaac Alvarado. The Cents would like to thank Isaac for his contributions to the team and the community over his time with the team, and welcome Jake and his family to the Nicola Valley.

Mclean will see his first action this weekend against the Wenatchee Wild.

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