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Centennials Blog

That's It; Vees Sweep Cents And Season Is Over

The 2013/2014 BCHL season has ended for the Merritt Centennials following a 4-3 loss to the Penticton Vees in Game 4 of the Interior Division Semi-Final on Saturday night, resulting in the Vees taking the series 4-0 and advancing to face either West Kelowna.

The Centennials got goals in the game from James Neil, who had a pair, as well as Tyler Martin, who scored an early third period goal to give Merritt some breathing room before the Vees struck back with a pair. Devin Kero finished with 23 of 27 saves for the Cents. 

Replying on the Penticton side was Steen Cooper, Brad McClure, Jack Ramsey and Brett Beauvais as the Vees will face either Vernon or West Kelowna in the 2nd Round starting on Friday night in Penticton. Hunter Miska was solid in the Vees net making 32 of 35 saves. 

It's too bad that the end of the line had to come here, a time that feels all too early. But that's just the business of hockey I guess. The players deserve great recognition for battling in the series, despite being without 3 and sometimes 4 regulars from the lineup. 


 The Cents opened the scoring with a hard forecheck as on the back half of a shift Zach Hartley and Adam Tracey went for one last push, getting the puck tied up along the right side boards where it came free for James Neil near the face-off dot, who wristed a shot short side top corner. Penticton struck back, though it took some time. Merritt nearly made it 2-0 with opportunities then creating a powerplay but the Vees were able to fend off pressure and goals. Steen Cooper flew up the left wing against Shane Poulsen and just slapped the puck on net mid-stride and caught Devin Kero five-hole to make it 1-1 with just 2:45 left in the first. Merritt outshot the Vees 15-5 in the period. 

It didn't take long for excitement to start in the second as Neil moved in to the offensive zone with a quick shot that beat Hunter Miska, with Jeff Wight and Gavin Gould both picking up helpers as Merritt's lead wouldn't last much past the 2:33 mark. At 3:52 on the powerplay, Brad McClure got the Vees back knotted up as he skated to the high slot and took a hard shot that went right through traffic and past Kero from Shane Mccolgan. Merritt outshot Penticton 11-10 as both team exchanged equal opportunity along with a pair of man advantages each.

To start the third period, AP call up Josh Teves got some good ice time which seemed to fire up the veteran blueliners. Teves got a shot on net and had provided strong support when his line change brought out Tyler Martin, who sent a blue line shot past Miska to put Merritt in front. Adam Tracey and Gavin Gould both had great offensive passes on the play to make it 3-2 at 6:33. With the Vees looking frustrated, it also seemed as though that fact distracted the Centennials, as a late hit at centre on Shane McColgan took attention away from Jack Ramsey who fired a shot past Kero on the right wing to tie the game with 5:20 to go. A speed play had the Vees take the lead as Brett Beauvais and Brad McClure both rushed up left-and-right sides with McClure firing the puck right to the far left post where Beauvais tipped it along the ice past the sliding right foot of Kero to make it 4-3 with just 2:01 remaining in regulation. Following the settling of discussions between officials(possible goal review, but no argument against), the Centennials were assessed a bench minor misconduct and that put them shorthanded for the final 2:01. To make that call at that stage considering the circumstances was very questionable, but I am unsure what was said on the ice to compensate for the decision. The Centennials put Kero and pushed and pushed but couldn't open up the ice as the Vees took the celebration back to the South Okanagan with a 4-0 sweep of the Centennials.

Congratulations to Penticton and best of luck int he 2nd Round against the Vipers or Warriors. This could have been a completely different series had a double minor high stick not been called against the Cents in the third period in Game 2, as a win that night surely wouldn't have had the Vees taking both games in the Nicola Valley. But, as they say, does it matter? The season has ended and you have to focus on the good things that this team did for the league and for the community. 

From the players to the off ice personnel, the Centennials organization should be proud of what a tight-knit group it has. The players moving on will be greatly missed as they provided some of this seasons' greatest moments, and for that I have put together a highlight reel of nearly every one of their goals (and saves!) during the 2013/14 season. There is also highlights from Game 4 coming in a seperate post. 

The 20-year old graduating players include Jason Bird, Tyler Martin, Sebastien Pare, Scott Patterson, Payton Schaefer. With NCAA scholarships, the Cents will/could graduate Shane Poulsen, Dane Birks, Jeff Wight and Devin Kero. 


The Centennials finish the 2013/14 season with a combined regular season and playoff record of 31-25-4-2 with a GFA of 3.12 and a GAA of 3.02. 

The teams playoff leaders were Jeff Wight and Sebastien Pare, who both posted 4 points in 4 games. 5 rookies earned points in the post-season, while James Neil led the team with 3 goals.

The team will be holding a season-ending banquet with information to follow, stay tuned!

I want to send a special thanks out to everyone involved with the organization and radio station that helped to make this season so much fun. For myself, my time in this league is going to be long-lived and I am so excited to have the opportunity to have begun my BCHL career with the Merritt Centennials. 

And to the parents, thank you for committing to allowing your child to continue to do what he loves. You are what a head gasket is to an engine. These kids need you, and this team appreciates your support and I hope you'll all be back in the Memorial Arena very soon!


Centennials-Vees Round 1 Series Preview

The Merritt Centennials finished the 2013/14 BCHL regular season with a record of 31-22-4-1 for 67 points, good for 4th place in the Interior Division.

The Penticton Vees went 36-16-2-4 on the year with 78 points, capturing the Division title with a tie-breaker over West Kelowna.

The two teams' open the 2014 Fred Page Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night in Penticton, with Game 2 on Wednesday before transferring back to Merritt on Friday for Game 3.

Here is the schedule for Round 1:

Game 1: Tuesday, March 4th- Centennials @ Vees 7pm, SOEC Q101 BROADCAST AT 6:30
Game 2: Wednesday, March 5th- Centennials @ Vees 7pm, SOEC Q101 BROADCAST AT 6:30
Game 3: Friday, March 7th- Vees @ Centennials 7:30pm, NVMA Q101 BROADCAST AT 7
Game 4: Saturday, March 8th- Vees @ Centennials 7:30pm, NVMA Q101 BROADCAST AT 7
*Game 5: Monday, March 10th- Centennials @ Vees 7pm, SOEC Q101 BROADCAST AT 6:30
*Game 6: Tuesday, March 11th- Vees @ Centennials 7pm, NVMA Q101 BROADCAST AT 6:30
*Game 7: Wednesday, March 12th- Centennials @ Vees 7pm, SOEC Q101 BROADCAST AT 6:30
*-If Necessary

Click to view information on Centennials playoff tickets.

ALL games can be heard live on Q101, at 101.1 FM in Merritt and online at Q101.ca!

Team Comparison

Records:
31-22-4-1, 67 points
36-16-2-4, 78 points
Home Records:
17-7-4-1, 39 points
19-7-0-3, 41 points
Away Records:
14-15-0-0, 28 points
17-9-2-1, 37 points
Power Play:
43/232 28.5% 8th (Home: 22/117 18.8% 11th - Away: 21/115 18.3% 5th)
55/234 23.5% 1st (Home: 22/111 19.8% 9th - Away: 33/123 26.8% 1st)
Penalty Kill:
209/248 18.5% 3rd (Home: 94/110 85.5%% 5th - Away: 115/138 83.3% 3rd)
192/221 86.8% 1st (Home: 93/105 88.6%% 1st - Away: 99/116 85.3% 1st)
Goals For:
184- 10th(4th in Interior)
199 - 6th(2nd in Interior)
Top Scorers:
Diego Cuglietta- 19+37=56 points
Scott Patterson- 27+26=53 points
Jeff Wight- 22+27=49 points
Brad McClure- 41+39=80 points
Brett Beauvais- 13+45=58 points
Nicolas Pierog- 31+18=49 points
Goals Against:
165 - 6th(2nd in Interior)
137 - 1st(1st in Interior)
Top Defencemen:
Jason Bird- 8+25=33 points
Shane Poulsen- 7+19=26 points
Tyler Martin- 4+19=23 points
Brett Beauvais- 13+45=58 points
Paul Stoykewych- 4+15=19 points
Alexandre Coulombe- 3+9=12 points
Goaltending:
Devin Kero 19-15-4, 2.48 GAA, .918 Sv%
Jarrod Schamerhorn 5-3, 3.08 GAA, .905 Sv%
Hunter Miska 19-12-2, 2.26 GAA, .915 Sv%
Olivier Mantha 17-9, 2.27 GAA, .912 Sv%
Penalty Minutes:
772
595

Season Series(Merritt goes 2-4-1-0, Penticton goes 4-1-1-0
September 27, 2013... Penticton wins 4-1 at SOEC
October 16th, 2013... Merritt wins 3-2 in OT at SOEC
December 4th, 2013... Penticton wins 4-1 at SOEC
December 6th, 2013... Penticton wins 5-4 at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena
January 3rd, 2014... teams tie 1-1 at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena
January 5th, 2014... Penticton wins 6-2 at SOEC
January 17th, 2014... Merritt wins 2-1 at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena
GF/GA:
Penticton outscores Merritt 23-14 in 7 games.
Special Teams:
Merritt goes 3/30 for a 10% PP
Penticton goes 7/35 for a 20% PP
Top Scorers Versus:
Diego Cuglietta 2+3=5 points
Shane Poulsen 2+3=5 points
Jeff Wight 2+2=4 points
Sebastien Pare 0+4=4 points
Brett Beauvais 4+5=9 points
Brad McClure 4+3=7 points
Travis Blanleil 2+4=6 points
Ben Dalpe 1+4=5 points

If you look by the numbers, for the most part Penticton has the advantage, but in the way that Merritt has played against the Vees this season with a full lineup, I see no underdog. Should be a great series, with excitement in either arena.
SEE YOU AT THE RINK!

Centennials Move To Playoffs Thanks To Win Over Salmon Arm

Jeff Wight scored a pair of goals for the Merritt Centennials on Wednesday night for his 21st and 22nd of the season while the Cents clinched a playoff spot with a 5-1 win over the rival Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

The win gives Merritt a record of 30-22-4-1 on the season, which secures the fourth seed in the Interior Division playoffs, which begin Tuesday night on the road. Find a first round schedule below.

For Merritt, supporting Wight's offense was Jake Clifford(4th) and
Jason Bird(8th), who both scored first period goals, while Sebastien Pare rounded out the scoring in the third with his 14th of the year. Diego Cuglietta earned 4 assists while James Neil had a pair of helpers.

Devin Kero played a more-than-solid game in goal, making 37 of 38 saves as Merritt has only lost once in the previous seven games with Kero in net.

Brendan Kennedy added his 1st of the season for Salmon Arm on a second period powerplay, with the assists to Thomas Plese and Bryden Marsh. Angus Redmond got the start despite Adam Clark returning to the Salmon Arm lineup, with Redmond making 39 of 44 saves.

Jack Berezan and Sam Johnson got involved in a tilt during the second period, which dates back to mid-December when Berezan received an 8-game suspension for a hit to the head of Devin Oakes. Oakes, meanwhile, left the game with a hit from behind major and could potentially see suspension pending league review of the hit.

Merritt finished 3-for-8 on the man advantage, improving their home ice powerplay from 14th in the BCHL to 11th. Salmon Arm was 1-for-2 with the man up.

The Centennials will host one more regular season game before heading in to the Fred Page Cup Playoffs, and that game is Saturday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena when the Vernon Vipers are in town for a 7:30 start.

It will be First Nations Appreciation Night, with $5.00 admission for all of our fans in surrounding First Nations, such as Coldwater, Shackan and Nooaitch.

Listen to that game live on Q101 with Dustin Scafe at 7:00.

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

The First Round schedule has been released for the 2014 BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoffs, and while the Merritt Centennials are yet to know WHO, they now know WHEN.

GAME 1- Tuesday Mar.4 @ Pen/WK
GAME 2- Wed Mar 5 @ Pen/WK
GAME 3- Friday Mar 7 in Merritt 7:30
GAME 4- Sat Mar 8 in Merritt 7:30
GAME 5- Mon Mar 10 @ Pen/WK * if necessary
GAME 6- Tues Mar 11 in Merritt 7:00 * if necessary
GAME 7- Wednesday Mar 12 @ Pen/WK * if necessary

Centennials Push Past 'Backs 4-3 In OT

Considering all circumstances, the Merritt Centennials executed their game plan nearly to a tee on Saturday night at Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm, with a 4-3 overtime win coming as a result of a late-game Silverbacks goal to tie it, before Sebastien Pare deflected home the game winner to put Merritt within a point of clinching a playoff spot.

Pare, with an assist as well, received offensive support from Dane Birks, Payton Schaefer and Jake Clifford, who all added singles in the win that saw the Centennials improve to 29-22-4-1 with just 2 games remaining in the regular season. Pare's recent play seems to be back on an upswing with 4 points in his previous 4 games, and he looked confident in Salmon Arm.

Salmon Arm had first line production to start the game as Alex Gillies opened the scoring before Nick Josephs and Cole McCaskill gave the 'Backs life as the extra point has them dropping to 25-22-1-7, 5 points back of Merritt heading in to a do-or-die game in Merritt on Wednesday night.

Wednesday's game is NVIT Night and MSS Night, as the Centennials can clinch a playoff spot for the fifth consecutive season. Details below!


Cole McCaskill fed Landon Smith up the right wing who looked for Alex Gillies before a failed attempt had Evan Anderson calm things down before sending the puck in front on a quick feed that Devin Kero just couldn't get across in time to cover the sweet spot on Gillies' 27th of the year at 2:13 of the first. The Centennials nearly tied it but instead ended up shorthanded as Daniel Nachbaur, our first intermission guest on the broadcast, bumped in to 'Backs netminder Angus Redmond to put Merritt down a man, but the kill wouldn't cause much disruption in the game plan. Just after the midway point of the period on a forward line change, Sebastien Pare had the puck all alone deep in the zone while he waited for his line to complete the change and he fed a set up Payton Schaefer for a top corner snipe to make it 1-1 at 10:32. Dane Birks then got away on a breakaway as he jumped up in the offence off a Adam Tracey clear, resulting in Birks going low backhand as Redmond nearly got it but it trickled past to give Merritt a 2-1 lead. The goal was a result of both of those players reading the transition at a very high pace, and the time of the goal was 15:46. Merritt was outshot 14-9 in an action packed first period at Shaw Centre, as the Cents led 2-1 in to the break.

It was the Centennials who took early momentum in the period with a goal that in my eyes may have been the Q101 Turning Point. Jake Clifford made his usual burst up ice, weaving through player after player, but this time the puck stayed nice and flat on his stick as he cut low to the zone and moved in front of Redmond wrapping the puck past to make it 3-1 Merritt. Oh man, what a beauty. Later in the period, after a pair of saves from Devin Kero and I'm sure a tough puck visual for the ref, the 'Backs made it 3-2 as Nick Josephs poked a sliding puck past Kero to make it 3-2 at 14:08 from Thomas Plese. Salmon Arm outshot Merritt 12-10 in the period, with the Cents taking a 3-2 lead to the break despite being down Dane Birks for the final six minutes of the period after he took a 10 minute misconduct for some post-whistle words.

The third period had some chances both ways as Salmon Arm looked to be playing its' top unit more often along with the depth players, perhaps a sign of fatigue or just as I said on the broadcast, Troy Mick seeing some extra compete in those depth guys'. The Centennials took a penalty late in the game, ironically right after I pointed out that the teams' should be allowed to play the rest of the game 5-on-5 considering whats at stake. Then, Jake Clifford finished his check and was issued a kneeing penalty, as Cole McCaskill put the game winner past Kero :16 seconds in to the powerplay. Evan Anderson picked up the lone assist at 17:19. Both teams made late game bursts' but couldn't get many great scoring chances and regulation expired with Merritt being outshot 38-38 in a 3-3 tie.

It didn't take long in overtime as Jeff Wight held the puck in the left wing corner before chucking it on goal where it caught a piece of Sebastien Pare to get up and over a crouching Redmond to give the Centennials the win just :14 seconds in to overtime. Pare's 13th of the year put the Centennials up to 6-1-4 in extra time. The goal was questioned by many in attendance as well as the Silverbacks bench with the thought the puck may have been either punched or high sticked in. Neither was the 'official' case, as it counted. Devin Kero took the advantage in goal with a phenomenal effort in his first game since February 7th, making 35 of 38 saves.

Speaking of strong games, Pare's name is joined by the likes of Shane Poulsen, Jake Clifford, Adam Tracey, Payton Schaefer and Jeff Wight for players who played very responsible two way games to help their team to the win. The list could go on, to youngster Gavin Gould or veteran leader Scotty Patterson. These players and the rest will be looked to heavily to finish what this group started back in early September, and that is reaching the 2014 Fred Page Cup Playoffs.

The final two home games of the regular season will close out the 58 game schedule by Saturday night, as the Silverbacks visit Merritt on Wednesday before Vernon in in the Nicola Valley on Saturday.
Wednesday's game is NVIT/MSS Night, with free admission for all students as well as the NVIT student families. We invite all fans and community members to come cheer loudly as the Centennials can clinch a playoff spot with a win.
Tune in at 6:30, with puck drop set for 7 PM from the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena!

 

Centennials Off To Salmon Arm After 5-3 Loss To Warriors

With a chance to put a stranglehold on the final playoff spot in the division with a win on Friday night, the Merritt Centennials failed to come out of the gates with the same ethic that had led them to much success this season; falling 5-3 to the West Kelowna Warriors to take just a single win out of the season series.

Goals came from Tyler Martin(4th), Adam Tracey(12th) and Sam Johnson(8th), all deservingly so as only a handful of players showed that they could lead the team on a night where frustration settled in equally for the 850 fans in attendance as it did players on the bench. Jarrod Schamerhorn made 26 of 31 saves in the loss.

For West Kelowna, offence came wide spread as David Pope opened the scoring before Tyson Dallman, Seb Lloyd and Brett Mennear added tallies to keep Merritt at arms reach, before Adam Osczevski sealed the deal late in the game. Andy Desautels was strong in goal making 41 of 44 saves.

With the loss, the Centennials fall to 28-22-4-1 on the year with a four point lead on Salmon Arm heading to the Shuswap on Saturday night, before hosting the 'Backs on home ice on Wednesday.

Although the Warriors took the only goal of the opening period, Merritt created good chances as the Centennials rushed in on a 3-on-1 rush with Gavin Gould looking swift in the early going. David Pope opened the scoring with a quick shot that showed exactly what got him drafted, his 22nd of the season came at 10:31 from Carl Hesler and Braden Pears. Jeff Wight got another big chance for the Centennials after Diego Cuglietta and Jake Clifford went to work in setting him up, but Desautels stopped a good backhand from Wight's stick. After twenty minutes, WK led 1-0 and had a 15-10 shot advantage at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
Tyson Dallman got the Warriors up a pair 6:02 in to the second as he crossed the blue line and chucked a puck low and hard toward Schamerhorn, beating the Cents netminder five-hole. Matt Anholt and Reid Simmonds got the assists.  Sebastien Pare was cutting out of the offensive zone when a pair of Warriors pulled a guillotine on him, with Tyson Dallman being ejected for an elbowing minor. Later in the period, with Pare ironically serving a penalty, Centennials d-man and captain Tyler Martin jumped up in a shorthanded rush with Sam Johnson and made it count as he flew up the left and got a pass from Johnson before beating Desautels to give Merritt life with just :45 seconds left in the period. Merritt outshot Kelowna 11-9 in the period but trailed 2-1 on the board, taking life in to the third.
It was an odd start to the third, with a span of 2:33 seeing each team score a pair of goals. First, at 4:33 it was Seb Lloyd who tipped a weak shot from Braden Pears past Schamerhorn to make it 3-1, with Simmonds also getting a helper. :41 seconds later, Brett Mennear made it 4-1 when the Centennials failed to clear the zone. Adam Oszcevski had the lone assist. :25 seconds after that one, the Cents struck back as Devin Oakes and Zach Hartley worked together to get Adam Tracey the puck in the slot to make it 4-2 on Tracey's 12th of the season. Just over a minute after that, at 7:05, with the Centennials now on a powerplay, Dane Birks sent a shot through from the point that caught Sam Johnson's stick to make it a one goal game, 4-3 Warriors. Payton Schaefer also drew in an assist with 12:55 left in the third. Scott Patterson forced a two-on-zero rush late in the period but a shot was handled easily by the Warriors goaltender. Adam Osczevski restored the two goal lead with 3:36 to go in regulation as he walked out from behind the net and quickly fired a short side shot past Schamerhorn to make it 5-3, the eventual final. Merritt outshot West Kelowna 20-7 in the period, but lost the hockey game 5-3 while outshooting the Warriors 41-31.

 


If Friday's game wasn't important, Saturday's definitely is. The Shaw Centre welcomes the Cents and Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 7:00 for the final time on the regular season. The 'Backs are four points back of Merritt, and have one less game played. As Luke Pierce says, keys to tonight's game are simple, "WIN".

6:30 pre-game show on Q101, I'll have the call online at Q101.ca! Should be a barn burner from the Shuswap. PS- roads to Salmon Arm look good today, hop on the road and come cheer on the boys!


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