The Merritt Centennials (4-11) look to return to the win column against the surging Chilliwack Chiefs (10-5-3-1) tonight.
The Cents are coming off a split of the weekends action. They kicked off Parent’s weekend with a bang with a 4-0 shutout over the Langley Rivermen. Ryan Winter earned his first BCHL shutout by stopping all 48 shots he faced, earning a first star nod. Josh Kagan scored in the first, Chase Nameth got his first as a Cent in the 2nd, Captain Rylan Van Unen scored in the third, and Thomas Manty added the insurance marker with an empty netter for the solid victory. However, on Sunday afternoon with archrival Penticton in town, the Cents fell by a score of 4-1. Even strength the teams got the same contributions scoring a goal apiece, but the Vees were able to make good on 3/5 powerplays to secure the win. Josh Kagan was the lone player to light the lamp for the Cents with his 10th of the season. Throughout the weekend, special teams remains the big blemish on the Centennials who have now gone 0 for their last 54.
The Chilliwack Chiefs are coming in off a win against the Surrey Eagles 6-3, but have been bested by Interior Division opponents the last 3 times out. They dropped a narrow 4-3 loss in overtime to the Penticton Vees last Saturday and fell to the Vernon Vipers and Salmon Arm Silverbacks when in enemy territory. The Chiefs boast one of the leagues youngest lineups, and the Cents will have to try and take advantage of the teams first and only trip to the NVMA this year.
Josh Kagan has been a beacon of offense for the Centennials since joining the team and continues to pace the club in points with 15. Payton Matsui on the strength of some quality assists over the weekend has moved to second in team scoring with 11 points, and Brett Roloson and Daniel Tkac sit at 9 points each.
Chilliwack is led by Ethan Bowen up front with 21 points - good enough for 9th highest in the BCHL. Rookies Joey Larson and Peter Reynolds are tied with 16 points, while newcomer Kyle Penney has 15.
The special teams battle sees the Cents looking for relief from a long suffering powerplay. Currently mired in an 0/54 stretch they hope that relief comes soon.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents - 6% (7th) Cents - 70.6% (16th)
Chiefs - 24.7% (2nd) Chiefs - 78.8% (13th)
The goaltender duel sees Ryan Winter looking to build off his shutout performance last Friday. He's now 2-7 with a .916 SV%, a 3.48 GAA, and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is 2-4 with an .884 SV% and a 4.01 GAA.
The Chiefs have been getting quality goaltending from Mathieu Caron who is 6-1-3 with a .926 SV%, a 2.25 GAA, and 1 shutout. Kolby Thornton is 4-3 with a .892 SV% and a 3.30 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the team needs to create more 2nd opportunities.
"When we struggle for offense, we aren't setting ourselves up for success with well placed shots. We need to shoot for the 2nd opportunities, bring the bodies and get on the scoresheet."
The Cents will look to seize the opportunity for a win tonight.
Puck drop 7pm. Pre-Game 6:45 on Q101 and Hockey TV with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.
Kids who dress up in costume will get into the game for free, and be able to participate in our 1st intermission costume contest!
The Merritt Centennials have refined their leadership group under Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter.
Remaining as Captain will be 4th year Centennials forward Rylan Van Unen, but instead of 6 assistants split between home and away the team will have 3 permanent assistants.
All three Assistants were previously named, and will continue to serve the team in a leading role. 3rd year defender Joey Berkopec will be the lone voice from the defensive side, while 2nd year Cents Brett Roloson, and Payton Matsui will represent the forwards.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says that the players chosen all have one thing in common - BCHL experience.
"These individuals are BCHL veterans that understand the game and what it takes to win at this level. This team had a lot of success last year and they were a part of that process and learn from that leadership group, that experience is incredibly valuable in this league. Each one of these players that have been chosen to lead our group are also great people and will be tasked in representing our culture that will be based on Humility, Integrity, and Courage. We want to be living our culture every day and representing those words proudly to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be. This culture is about building men for the future and for others. We want our team to be great citizens who are servant leaders in our community now and when they move on from our program. We want them to take those values with them on their journey into adulthood and serve their communities the right way like they have learned here. Being a leader for this teams means a lot more than just on the ice and these individuals know that and are up for the challenge."
Along with the core message of Humilty, Integrity, and Courage the Cents have also chosen some other key words that are in their locker room: Family, Trust, Heart, Accountability, Brotherhood, and Believe.
The team word of the year is Trust.
The team plans on announcing a vision and mission statement next week.
The Merritt Centennials saw their win streak snapped by their Interior Rival Penticton Vees on Sunday Afternoon.
The first period, and the game saw the Cents just not able to finish off their chances. Tyler Ho scored the only even strength goal of the night for the Vees 9 minutes into the first to open the scoring after some pretty passing from Penticton to make it 1-0. On the powerplay, Liam Malmquist was able to get enough on the shot to power through the glove of Marshall to make it a 2-0 game at the 16 minute mark. The Cents had opportunities but couldn't cash in past one of the top netminders in the league Yaniv Perets. Shots after 1 were 17-11 Vees.
The Vees were able to use their powerplay to the advantage twice more in the 2nd period. Evan McIntyre got credit for a shot that found its way through a thick crowd in front of Marshall, and then Danny Weight scored late in the frame on a nifty pass from behind the net, that had everyone fooled and gave Weight the open net short side to make it 4-0. Marshall was victimized for all but one of the goals against on the night, and shots after 2 were 36 -24.
In the final frame with more 5-on-5 time the Cents skated with the Penticton Vees just fine. Josh Kagan tallied his team leading 10th of the season on a shot down low through the wickets of Perets to break the shutout bid, but it didn't propel the Cents to the comeback and 4-1 would be the final. Final Shots were 42-38.
After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said the team just has to buckle down and bury on their opportunities, and try and create the 2nd chances.
"We were creating out there, but when your a team that's looking for scoring you have to try and create the second opportunities, and we saw that with the final goal."
The Cents will regroup for a 3 game week against the Chilliwack Chiefs on Wednesday before a double-header down under in Wenatchee on the weekend.
The Merritt Centennials (4-10) take on their arch rival the Penticton Vees (13-3-1-0) this afternoon.
For the first time this season the Cents have strung two wins in a row, and are looking to stay hot against perennial contender Penticton. On Friday night, it was a full team effort but the star that shone brightest was Ryan Winter with a 48 save shutout as the Cents went on to win 4-0. The Cents got a goal from Josh Kagan in the first period, Chase Nameth in the second, and Captain Rylan Van Unen in the third, before Thomas Manty iced the game with an empty netter. The Centennials are looking to take the positive results, and the positive attitude into battle against the Vees.
Penticton flew out of the gate to an 11-0 record, but showed they are human after dropping 4 in a row. However, this week they have righted the ship with wins over two talented teams. They topped the streaking Trail Smoke Eaters 4-2 on Wednesday, and pulled out a game in overtime against the Chilliwack Chiefs last night 4-3. The Vees have got some of their swagger back and it will be up to the Cents to match it this afternoon.
The Cents and Vees have met once already early on this season, and it was a humbling experience for Merritt as they lost by a score of 7-3. Rylan Van Unen, Brett Roloson, and Troy Quinn tallied in the losing effort, while Penticton went 3/8 on the powerplay and got goals from 6 different scorers. The depth of the Vees will be a tough test for the Cents.
Leading the Cents offensively is still Josh Kagan after picking up another goal on Friday with 14 points. Payton Matsui now has 10, while Brett Roloson and Daniel Tkac are tied with 9 points.
The Vees boast some offensive juggernauts in their line up including former first rounder Jay O'Brien who leads the team, and is 3rd in BCHL scoring with 25 points. Lucas Sillinger has 19 points and is 13th league wide, while Danny Weight has 18 points.
The special teams battle sees the Vees with the edge, and the Cents looking to bust an 0/50 slump on the powerplay.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents - 6.3% (17th) Cents - 73% (16th)
Vees- 15.6% (13th) Vees - 85.1% (6th)
The goaltending battle sees both Cents netminders coming in hot. Tanner Marshall is 2-3 with a .878 SV% and a 4.01 GAA. Ryan Winter is coming off his 1st shutout and is now 2-7 with a .916 SV% and a 3.48 GAA.
Yaniv Perets has been the go to guy for the Vees early on, but they've just picked up another goaltender to help him out in the crease in Carl Stankowski. Perets is 7-3 with a .929 SV% a 1.76 GAA and 3 shutouts already this season. Stankowski got his first start last night and is 1-0 with a .897 SV% and a 2.91 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says the Cents need to keep the Vees on the outside.
"Penticton is a good team, we'll have to keep them away from the middle of the ice and limit their chances for a chance at the win."
The Cents will look to keep the Vees on the outside looking in when it comes to the win tonight.
Puck drop 2pm from the NVMA. Pre-game show 1:45 on Q101 with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve. Tim Hortons will have free coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts on hand while supplies last in support of Merrritt Minor Hockey who will be out in full force! Timbits hockey in the first intermission, chuck a puck in the second!
For the first time this season, the Merritt Centennials have strung two wins together as they along with Ryan Winter shutout the Langley Rivermen 4-0 on Friday night.
After an on-ice ceremony for the parents and billets ahead of the game, the Cents came out of the gate with a bang. Matt Osadick came flying down the right wing side, and as he gained the offensive blue line, he fired a shot on net that rung off the iron, but right onto the stick of the Cents leading scorer Josh Kagan - who potted it into the empty cage to make it 1-0. Kagan's 9th goal of the season stood up as the only goal in the first period, as the Centennials were heavily out shot. After 1 Ryan Winter stopped all 17 shots he faced, while Kristian Lyon stopped 4/5.
In the middle frame, the game started to get out of hand with late hits being delivered by the Rivermen. Langley tried to bully the Centennials with their physical play, but the Cents stood up for themselves and didn't relent on their pursuit for offense. Despite taking their lumps, including Josh Kagan getting bowled over in a mismatch against Brandon Scoville, the Cents were able to add a goal towards the end of the frame. Chase Nameth scored his first of the season, and as a Centennial with a shot the found the top corner behind Lyon. Shots after 2 were 36-20 in favour of the Rivermen.
The third period saw both teams clean up their act on the penalty front, and the Cents defended their lead expertly. They were able to spend the majority of time in the Rivermen zone and were also able to add some offense when the chips were down. After a late penalty kill, Payton Matsui found Rylan Van Unen behind the D, and from the blue line Van Unen danced in the a tight backhand, forehand move in front, capped off with a top corner shot to give the Cents the 3-0 lead. Matt Osadick and Thomas Manty teamed up for the empty netter to add the icing in a 4-0 game. Ryan Winter made 4 or 5 game stopping saves throughout the night, as final shots were 48-35 Rivermen.
After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said he was proud of the guys for rising above the bully tactics.
"I thought the team played with a level head, and didn't get sucked into the extra curricular stuff with Langley and that was key for us throughout the game."
The Cents will put their pair of wins on the line against the Penticton Vees on Sunday afternoon.
ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Talon Zakall
3rd Star: Kristian Lyon
2nd Star: Rylan Van Unen 1G 0A
1st Star: Ryan Winter 48/48 SVS