The Merritt Centennials continued to roll on one of their final home stands of the year winning big over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 7-4.
The Cents picked up where they left off on the powerplay as an early opportunity led to an early goal. Once again it was some quick puck movement around the zone, and a tap in for Evan Benwell at the back door to open the scoring 1-0. The Bulldogs would answer as leading scorer Ryan Doolin sniped from the wall after the Bulldogs started to put the pressure on. The Cents were able to answer when Jake McLean made a pass out of the corner onto the doorstep for Thomas Manty who scored his first of the game. Chase Nameth then scored on a cheeky play from the end boards as his no-look backhand pass found Payton Matsui out front who was able to go upstairs on Bird for the third goal of the period. Pascoal was able to bring the Bulldogs within one when he deflected former Cent Mattias Dal Monte's point shot past Winter to make it 3-2 after 20 minutes. Shots after 1 were 17-12 Bulldogs.
The middle frame saw the Bulldogs start to put the pressure on, but the Cents weathered the storm. At the 8 minute mark Dal Monte lowered a big hit at centre ice on Jerzy Orchard and would exit the game on a 5 minute major, and the Cents would get a slew of penalties in their favour in the aftermath. Christian Buono would draw a double minor for high sticking to make it a lengthy 2 man advantage. Despite all the powerplay time, the Cents would only muster one goal from the stick of Thomas Manty - a wirejob top corner glove side to make it 4-2. Shots after 2 were 28-27 Cents.
The final stanza saw the Cents stretch their lead thanks to special teams. Payton Matsui added his team leading 4th shorthanded goal after Thomas Manty found him the a cross ice feed. Evan Benwell added his 9th of the season after deflecting home a Talon Zakall point shot to make it 6-3. Chase Klassen would score his first in the BCHL in the final minute for the Bulldogs to make it 6-4, but that would lead to the Dogs pulling the goalie and gave Payton Matsui a crack at the empty net and he'd oblige with his hat trick goal and seal the win 7-4. Final shots were 44-35.
After the game Assistant Coach Paul Barnes said the Cents gave it their all for the whole game.
"The pressure is off and the team is playing well. It's another night where they played the full 60 minutes and got rewarded for their efforts."
The Cents have taken care of business at home but still have one more game. Tomorrow afternoon against the Vernon Vipers at 2pm.