Merritt Centennials
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The Merritt Centennials (4-14-1-0) look to reset for the rematch against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (17-4-1-0) in the second game of the home-and-home series tonight.

The Centennials are looking to replicate the effort they brought throughout the game and especially in the third period where they pushed the pace and were able to get chances, goals, and send the game to overtime. The first period was scoreless thanks to the play of Ryan Winter who stared down 3 powerplay chances from the Silverbacks. In the second period, the Silverbacks scored early, but Joey Berkopec was able to tie the game at 1’s with a great solo effort down the left wing, collecting his own rebound, and putting it past Langenegger. The Silverbacks added two more to make it 3-1 before the end of the second. In the third the Cents got back into the game late after Jake Mclean fed Payton Matsui in front and he flipped one backhand over the glove to pull the Cents within one. Talon Zakall tied the game with 23 seconds left with a blast from the point to force overtime. In OT, the Cents had a breakaway opportunity from their leading scorer, but Josh Kagan couldn’t convert. The Silverbacks were able to score after Ryan Winter was wiped out to the side of the net on a shot from Akito Hirose to win the game.

The Silverbacks will be looking to prove that last night was a fluke and that they are a better team. The Cents did get a number of Grade A scoring chances around the net, and couldn’t quite capitalize. Both goaltenders played sensational despite the number of goals allowed. The season series got off to quite a start last night.

The Cents are hoping a return home can give them the shot in the arm they need. The team has now picked up points in only 2 games on the road, and hope a return to the friendly confines of the NVMA will give the extra push in the must win moments.

Josh Kagan didn’t get on the scoresheet last night but continues to lead the team in offense with 18 points. Payton Matsui and Brett Roloson are now tied with 13 points, and Daniel Tkac has 12.

Akito Hirose scored the OT winner and leads his club with 27 points. Noah Wakeford is just behind him with 26, and Daniel Rybarik and William Poirier have 21 points.

The Cents penalty kill got a solid bump last night, but despite chances couldn’t cash in on the powerplay.

Powerplay:                           Penalty Kill:

Cents – 6% (17th)             Cents – 69.4% (17th)

SA – 18.7% (9th)               SA – 84.3% (7th)

After the great start last night, Ryan Winter will get the call again. He’s 2-8-1 with a .910 SV%, a 3.75 GAA, and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is waiting in the wings and is 2-6 with a .879 SV% and a 4.42 GAA.

Ethan Langenegger has carried the mail for the Silverbacks and he could get a shot at redemption tonight. He’s 14-2 with a 2.22 GAA, a .927 SV% and 2 shutouts. Dylan Kruss is 3-2-1 with a .899 SV% and a 2.70 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the team is on the cusp of turning the game around.

“We are playing with heart, we are bringing the compete, we are leaving it all out there. We will have to do that again tonight if we want to win.”

The Cents will look to clutch the victory tonight.

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

Fortis BC is giving fans a chance to win a $500 Visa Gift Card so be in attendance tonight!

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The Merritt Centennials had their best effort of the season and pushed the Interior leading Salmon Arm Silverbacks to the brink in a 4-3 OT loss.

The first period saw the Cents pile up the chances once again, but a huge toe stop by Ryan Winter stood up as one of the difference makers in a scoreless first period. Shots after one were 11-9 in favour of Salmon Arm.

The game truly came to life in the second period and it happened early as the Silverbacks' Andreozzi scored on a just expired powerplay to open the scoring. Joey Berkopec was able to tie the game minutes later when he drove wide on the left wing and fired a shot low on Langenegger and then picked up his own rebound to tie the game 1-1. The 'Backs were able to add two more throughout the remainder of the frame to take a 3-1 lead into the final period. Shots after 2 were 27-25 Salmon Arm.

In the third period the Cents gave their all to get on the comeback trail. After chances a plenty in the early goings of the period they were finally able to pull through. Jake McLean fished the puck out of the corner and flung it out front to Payton Matsui who backhanded a shot up and over Langenegger's glove side to make it 3-2. With the game on the line and the Cents pushing late with the net empty Daniel Tkac put it back to the line and Talon Zakal unleashed a lazer from the line that found a way through the crowd low to tie the game at 3 with 23 seconds left to send the game to overtime. Shots after 3 were 46-38 Salmon Arm.

In overtime, the Cents had an early mishap that nearly ended up in their own net if not for a fearless block from Olson Werenka in his own net. Then at the other end Josh Kagan had a stone cold breakaway but was stoned by Langenegger. The Silverbacks ended up converting on a questionable goal. Ryan Winter was interfered with but play wasn't called and the puck came back to the blueline and Hirose was able to put it past a late to the party Winter. Final shots were 50-40 in favour of the Silverbacks.

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said the team played with their heart on their sleeves.

"We had good leadership, good chances, and we never gave up tonight. We didn't quite pull it off, but if we continue to play like that the results are going to come."

The Cents look to reset for the rematch tomorrow night at the NVMA. Fortis BC is giving fans a chance to win a $500 Visa GC so make sure to turn up for 7pm puck drop.

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The Merritt Centennials (4-14) face off for the first time against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (16-4-1-0) tonight.

The Centennials are looking to bounce back after a tough 7 days of hockey. After losses to the Penticton Vees 4-1 and the Chilliwack Chiefs 7-1 in the lead up to the Wenatchee road trip, the Cents weren't able to complete comebacks against the Wild this past weekend. They were able to battle back in contention in both contests, but took a few minutes off during games that took them out of contention. In game one on Friday, the Cents came out of the gates strong, but just weren't able to cash in on their opportunities with a couple open nets and odd man rushes in the first period. Of course, on their first chance the Wild buried off a Cents skate and in to make it 1-0 after 1. The Cents would surrender another in the second period before adding a goal of their own late from Josh Kagan. Brett Roloson tied the game up early in the third period, and the game looked to be back on, but after tying the game the Cents didn't keep the pressure up while the Wild were able to add 3 unanswered to make it a 5-2 final. The following night the Cents didn't have the same jump in the first, but at the intermission it was the same story trailing 1-0. In the second period, Kagan was able to score again to tie the game, but again the Cents sat back after the goal and surrendered 2 more. The Cents woke up after the BCHL media time out and got goals from Daniel Tkac and the first in the BCHL from Tyson Galloway to tie the game 3-3 after 2. Early on in the third, the Wild pulled away by adding 2 goals, but the Cents battled back with a parting gift from Troy Quinn with a goal on the powerplay to bump their long slump and bring them within one. However, with the net empty the Cents couldn't complete the come back suffering a late empty netter for the 6-4 final.

While the Cents are 1-4 in their last 5 with 4 straight losses, the Silverbacks are 4-1 in their last 5. They've had a couple different weekend double headers sweeping the Wenatchee Wild two weekends ago by scores of 8-5 and 4-2. Last weekend they earned a split against the red hot Trail Smoke Eaters. The Smokies were able to win 5-4 in game 1, but Salmon Arm was able to take game 2 by a score of 2-1 in a shootout. The Silverbacks also sit atop the Interior Division going into the weekends action, and though the two teams are drastically different than they were a year ago. The Cents did go 5-1 in the season series against Salmon Arm last year, and these teams always play spirited hockey against each other.

The Cents have been busy on the trade front around the weekend that was. Before heading to Wenatchee the Cents picked up Jake Mclean from the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for future considerations, and released Isaac Alvarado from the roster to make room for him. Mclean earned an assist in his first two games as a Centennials forward and shows way more offensive flair than the departing Alvarado. Upon return to Merritt the Centennials weren't done dealing Troy Quinn to the Flin Flon Bombers in exchange for future considerations and acquiring forward Hunor Turzsok from the Estevan Bruins. Turzsok doesn't bring a lot of offensive pedigree, but he brings that next level compete and is a player that will grind in the corners and create space to help set up the skilled forwards of the Cents.

Offensively Josh Kagan continues to lead the way for the Centennials with 18 points. Payton Matsui and Brett Roloson have 12 points, and Daniel Tkac has 11.

Salmon Arm boasts 4 players in the top 20 of BCHL scoring. Defender Akito Hirose leads the Silverbacks and the BCHL in scoring by a defenseman with 26 points, Noah Wakeford has 25 points while Daniel Rybarik and William Poirier have 21 points apiece.

The special teams battle sees the Cents looking to reset after busting their lengthy slump, and the Silverbacks are sporting strong numbers overall.

Powerplay:                              Penalty Kill:

Cents - 6.5% (17th)            Cents - 66.7% (17th)

SA - 20% (7th)                       SA - 83.5% (7th)

Tanner Marshall had a tough outing last weekend against the Wild and now sits 2-6 with an .879 SV% and a 4.42 GAA. Ryan Winter got into action briefly in the 3rd period over last weekends action and is 2-8 with a .908 SV%, 3.74 GAA, and 1 shutout.

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks also boast one of the best goaltenders in the BCHL in Ethan Langenegger. He's been the go to guy and is 13-2 with a .927 SV%, a 2.18 GAA, and 2 shutouts to go along with two BCHL Player of the Week nods. Dylan Kruss is the bonafied back up with a 3-2-1 record a .899 SV% and a 2.70 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the Cents have to be mindful of the opposition, but they also have to mindful of themselves.

"The biggest thing heading into this weekend is we can't beat ourselves. We need to make sure we are doing everything right on our end to put ourselves in a position to win. If we take care of our part, I like our chances."

The Cents will have to mindful of the big two points on the line tonight.

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

Fortis BC is sponsoring the game at the NVMA tomorrow and fans will have a chance to win a $500 Visa gift card so make sure you're in attendance!

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The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the acquisition of forward Hunor Torzsok (00) from the Estevan Bruins of the SJHL in exchange for future considerations.

Torzsok, a dual citizen of Hungary and Canada, has spent time in the WHL with the Vancouver Giants, in the BCHL with the Nanaimo Clippers, and most recently in the SJHL with the Estevan Bruins. He's been held pointless in 6 games this year with the Bruins, but last season with Nanaimo he tallied 5 points over 26 games played.

Director of Hockey Operations John Stuart says that Torzsok is a player that thinks in straight lines.

"Hunor is a big physical kid that is willing to pay the price to win puck battles, and he makes life difficult on the opposition. He's the team first type of player we are looking for."

In a separate deal, the Cents have sent defenseman Troy Quinn (99) to the Flin Flon Bombers of the SJHL in exchange for future considerations.

The Centennials would like to thank Troy for his contributions to the club over his time spent here, and welcome Hunor and his family to the team and the Nicola Valley.

Torzsok will get his first taste of Centennials action on Friday night against the Interior Division leading Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

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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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