Merritt Centennials
Q101 is the Home of the Cents!

TRADE-ALERT.jpg

The Merritt Centennials announced a trade today that sends defender Joey Berkopec (99) to the Coquitlam Express in exchange for future considerations. 

Berkopec was in his 3rd year as a part of the Centennials and was arguably their top defenseman. To date he had tallied 3 goals and 14 assists for 17 points this season, and in his Cents career he compiled 12 goals and 45 assists in 144 games.  

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the move gives Berkopec a chance to win, and will help build the team moving forward.

"We thank Joey for all his hard work with the Centennials for the last 3 years and we wish him all the best as he moves on to his next chapter with Coquitlam."

With the move Berkopec goes to the first ranked team in the BCHL. 

 

Pin It

atTRA-645.jpg

The Merritt Centennials (10-25-1-3) go for game 2 of the double dip against the Trail Smoke Eaters (24-12-2-1) tonight.

Last night the Merritt Centennials were in the driver's seat for the majority of the game, but a strong finish from Trail saw the Smoke Eaters come back and grab the win 6-3.

The first period was a textbook frame of how to play at the NVMA spurred on by some timely offense. Affiliate Brett Mero from the Kamloops Storm scored his first BCHL goal, on his first shot, on his first shift just 3 minutes into the game to make the game 1-0. Linemate Christian Buono picked up where he left off before the break as he'd add another by beating Terness blocker side to put the Cents up 2-0. The Cents would also kill off two Trail penalties in the first frame, a far cry from the last time the two teams met where Trail put up 6 goals on 6 tries in the opening period.

The second period saw the Smoke Eaters have to start on their heels due to the penalty kill. The Cents kept their feet moving to draw a pair of calls early on and Trail would score their first goal of the game even strength. Phillippe Lapointe would score on an off speed shot after his stick shattered as he released, and the change up slipped under the pad of Tanner Marshall. Marshall had some of his best play in the 2nd period where he made huge saves when the Cents were shortmanned. He flew across the crease to rob Trail on back door plays and was a big part of the Cents going to the third period up 2-1.

Kent Johnson finally broke through early on in the final frame, scoring up top on Marshall after some head fakes from the slot. The goal would come just 20 seconds in, but Ben Ward would tie the game by stripping Johnson on the ensuing shift going down the ice, keeping on a 2-on-1 and sniping top corner glove side to restore the lead 3-2. Cody Schiavon answered for Trail to tie the game at the 5 minute mark of the third and there it would stay until just under the 5 minute remaining mark of the period. On their 5th powerplay of the night, the Smoke Eaters finally pulled through and it was Kent Johnson who scored low on a goal mouth scramble. From there the wheels fell off for the Centennials who allowed two more goals for a 6-3 final. Final Shots were 51-45 Trail.

The teams will meet for their 4th time this season with another game on the horizon on Tuesday. Last night was by far the Cents best effort of the season series, but they're still 0-3 against the Smoke Eaters that have outscored the Cents 22-6. The energy was evident from the get go from the Cents but now they will have to make the long trip to Trail and come off the bus ready to play.

Christian Buono continues to be ready to play as he had a goal and an assist and leads the team with 31 points. Payton Matsui had some quality chances for the Cents last night and has 25 on the year. Captain Rylan Van Unen awaits his first points of 2020 and is tied with rookie Thomas Manty with 18 points.

Kent Johnson continues to pace the league after a 4 point night against the Cents with 73. Owen Ozar jumps into 2nd spot with 48 points, and Michael Collela has 47.

The Centennials had a decent chance at shutting out the Smoke Eaters on the powerplay last night, but couldn't quite get it done.

Powerplay:                               Penalty Kill:

Cents - 10.7% (17th)          Cents - 72.9% (17th)

Trail - 26.1% (1st)                 Trail - 86% (3rd)

The goaltending battle sees Tanner Marshall coming off another great game where he deserved a better fate. Marshall is 6-12-1 with a 4.59 GAA and a .884 SV%. Ryan Winter is waiting for his first game of 2020 and is 3-11-2 with a .902 SV% and a 4.08 GAA with 1 shutout.

Logan Terness played admirably last night and is 17-7-2 with a .932 SV% and a 2.40 GAA. Matteo Paler-Chow is also waiting for his first game of 2020 and is 9-10-1 with an .881 SV% and a 3.56 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coutler says the Cents need to have that extra push when it gets down to crunch time.

"Late in games when we need that goal we need our team pushing for the win instead of pushing the panic button."

Puck drop 7pm from the Trail Memorial Centre. Pre-Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101 and HockeyTV.

Pin It

GAME-OVER-vsTRA.jpg

The Merritt Centennials were in the driver's seat for the majority of the game, but a strong finish from Trail saw the Smoke Eaters come back and grab the win 6-3.

The first period was a textbook frame of how to play at the NVMA spurred on by some timely offense. Affiliate Brett Mero from the Kamloops Storm scored his first BCHL goal, on his first shot, on his first shift just 3 minutes into the game to make the game 1-0. Linemate Christian Buono picked up where he left off before the break as he'd add another by beating Terness blocker side to put the Cents up 2-0. The Cents would also kill off two Trail penalties in the first frame, a far cry from the last time the two teams met where Trail put up 6 goals on 6 tries in the opening period. Shots after 1 were 18-14 Trail.

The second period saw the Smoke Eaters have to start on their heels due to the penalty kill. The Cents kept their feet moving to draw a pair of calls early on and Trail would score their first goal of the game even strength. Phillippe Lapointe would score on an off speed shot after his stick shattered as he released, and the change up slipped under the pad of Tanner Marshall. Marshall had some of his best play in the 2nd period where he made huge saves when the Cents were shortmanned. He flew across the crease to rob Trail on back door plays and was a big part of the Cents going to the third period up 2-1. Shots after 2 were 36-31 Cents.

Kent Johnson finally broke through early on in the final frame, scoring up top on Marshall after some head fakes from the slot. The goal would come just 20 seconds in, but Ben Ward would tie the game by stripping Johnson on the ensuing shift going down the ice, keeping on a 2-on-1 and sniping top corner glove side to restore the lead 3-2. Cody Schiavon answered for Trail to tie the game at the 5 minute mark of the third and there it would stay until just under the 5 minute remaining mark of the period. On their 5th powerplay of the night, the Smoke Eaters finally pulled through and it was Kent Johnson who scored low on a goal mouth scramble. From there the wheels fell off for the Centennials who allowed two more goals for a 6-3 final. Final Shots were 51-45 Trail.

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said special teams played a factor.

"I thought our powerplay looked really good tonight, but we couldn't convert and we give them one too many opportunities. Overall we played well, we just need that extra push instead of pulling back."

The Cents will look to push back in Trail Saturday night - 7pm puck drop.

Pin It

vsTRA-645.jpg

The Merritt Centennials (10-24-1-3) begin the new year against a tough test with a home and home series against the Trail Smoke Eaters (23-13-2-1) that starts tonight.

The Cents come in refreshed after the holidays, but in their crazy schedule leading up to the break come into the game going 1-4 in their last 5 outings. Daniel Tkac had some success with Team Slovakia, but will most likely be unavailable heading into this trio against one of the leagues top teams. The Centennials will have to be at their best to repel the strong attack of the Trail Smoke Eaters who have gotten the best of them so far this season. The Cents need to set the tone for the new year, and set the tone against a team that they will see 3 times in a row and 4 times in January.

The Smoke Eaters came into the break on a tear winning 4 of their last 5 with the return of their top guns after they returned from the World Junior A Challenge. Trail won 4-3 against the Cowichan Valley Capitals heading into the break, 4-1 against the Vernon Vipers, lost in a barn burner 7-4 to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, and picked up a pair of wins against the West Kelowna Warriors 3-1 and 4-3. For the Smoke Eaters it starts with solid offense and special teams play, but is supplemented with good defense and great goaltending as well.

The season series hasn't been kind to the Merritt Centennials who are 0-2 against Trail. Falling by scores of 9-2 and 7-1 for a combined 16-3 over two games. Kent Johnson has 9 points in 2 games played, wing man Michael Collela has 6 points, and Phillipe Lapointe has 5 points in just a game. The Centennials will need to bring their very best, and hope that Trail comes in a little over confident to start the new year.

Christian Buono comes into the new year as the reigning BCHL Player of the Week and leads the Cents with 30 points, Payton Matsui matches the number on the back of his jersey with 25, and Captain Rylan Van Unen has shot up to 18 points. Hunor Torzsok was also an honorable mention for BCHL Player of the Month in December with 10 goals and an assist in 11 games played.

Kent Johnson stirs the drink for the Smoke Eaters with 69 points this year, the next closest player is his wing man Collela with 47, and Owen Ozar has 46.

The special teams battle sees the Cents going up against the BCHL's best.

Powerplay:                                               Penalty Kill:

Cents - 11% (17th)                               Cents - 72.7% (17th)

Trail - 26.2% (1st)                                 Trail - 85.5% (4th)

The goaltending duel sees the Cents looking to start the new year strong. Ryan Winter came in at number five on the top ten saves of the year so far from the BCHL and is 3-11-2 with a .902 SV%, a 4.08 GAA, and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is 6-11-1 with an .884 SV% and a 4.52 GAA.

Logan Terness has stolen the number one job in Trail and ran with it as the young netminder is 16-7-2 with a .932 SV%, and a 2.38 GAA. Matteo Paler-Chow is 9-10-1 with an .881 SV% and a 3.56 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says it's a new year and it's time to set the tone.

"We're coming out of the break fresh, and it's time to look forward with a fresh outlook."

The Cents will look to set the tone for the year with a win tonight.

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

Pin It

GAME-OVER---vsCV.jpg

The Merritt Centennials were in the drivers seat heading into the third period against the Cowichan Capitals for the 2nd week in a row, but weren't even able to salvage a point as they'd fall 5-3.

The first period saw a NVMA bounce go off a defenders shin guard, off the back boards, off the back off Marshall's skate and in to open the scoring for Cowichan. The Cents would reply with a goal from Christian Buono half way through the frame, and Talon Zakall would score on a drive up the middle late where he went 1 on 2 took the shot, followed up his rebound and put it past Howard to give the Cents the 2-1 lead after 1. Shots were 14-11 Cowichan.

The second period saw the game start to get out of hand around the halfway mark when Broadhurst mugged Buono in the defensive end. Buono turtled up, McIntyre and Clark were extra men in, and Clark, McIntyre and Broadhurst would all be tossed for fighting. That put the Cents on a lengthy powerplay and Captain Rylan Van Unen would score to make it 3-1 Cents. Merritt was unable to hang on to the two goal margin as Mikrogiannakis scored with under 30 seconds left in the second to make it 3-2. Late in the second, Joey Berkopec was handed a slashing major that saw him tossed from the game, so the Cents were down to 4 d men for the final frame. Shots after 2 7-20 Capitals.

The Centennials came up with a big kill of the remainder of Joey Berkopec's major penalty early on in the third, but couldn't get that spark to catch fire to their legs. The Capitals would add 2 more goals in the span on a minute to make it 4-3, and would add the empty netter to make it a 5-3 final. Final shots were 48-24 Cowichan.

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said the team needs to learn from their experiences in the first half.

"We've seen that this team can do amazing things when they play the right way, and we've seen them be in games right up to the third period. We need to be better at finishing through these games."

The Centennials would like to wish all their fans a Merry Christmas and we will see you in the first game of the new year on January 3rd.

Pin It