The Merritt Centennials (10-30-1-3) take the road to Trail for the final time this season to face the Smoke Eaters (28-14-2-1) tonight.
The Cents had a rough ride last night in Penticton where they were able to skate with the Vees for the first 20 minutes of hockey, but a 6 goal 2nd period led to a 9-1 route against the top team in the Interior.
In the first period the teams were evenly matched, but skill was on display. Top prospect Danny Weight took on the Cents defense 1-on-4 and dangled out the other side, then fired one tweener up and over the shoulder of Marshall to open the scoring 1-0. Evan Benwell was able to answer for the Centennials late in the frame with a slick move of his own, breaking in all alone, he faked forehand, pulled backhand and popped It over the shoulder of Stankowski to make it 1-1.
The Vees exploded for offense in the 2nd period. Bulging the twine 6 times to lead 7-1, they got goals from Jay O’Brien, David Silye, Jackson Niedermayer, another from O’Brien, Tristan Amonte, and Jack Barnes. The Cents found themselves behind 2 just 3:30 into the second, and had an opportunity on the PP at the 5:30. They were unable to score with the man advantage, and even with a time out couldn’t turn the tide of momentum that the Vees had seized. The game slipped away there, and never really came back.
Local Merrittonian Bryce Garcia started the third with Tanner Marshall leaving the ice with injury. He was able to hold his own stopping 11/13 and was only beaten by goals in the final minute. The Vees were able to add a couple late, one of them coming off a Centennials skate for an own goal to make it a 9-1 final. Add to that the fact that the Cents may have lost Tanner Marshall and Braydon Clark to injury, with Talon Zakall also taking to the ice gingerly this game doesn’t look to rosy.
The Smoke Eaters are coming off a 5-1 win against the Vernon Vipers where they had the big guns firing. Kent Johnson scored a pair of goals, Captain Phillipe Lapointe, Carson Briere, and Michael Collela added the others to come away with the victory.
Your memory doesn’t have to be great to remember the hard fought 6-4 loss the Centennials suffered on Tuesday. Getting goals from Torzsok, Nameth, Van Unen, and Orchard – the offense wasn’t enough to get past the high flying Smoke Eaters and former Cent Matt Osadick put the nail in the coffin with the late empty netter. The season series now sits 0-5 for the Cents with them looking to pick up one win in Trail before the Smoke Eaters will visit on the last home date of the year.
The Cents are still looking for the top of their lineup to contribute more. Christian Buono is stalled on 30 points, Payton Matsui has 28, and Daniel Tkac despite having 3 breakaways last night is still sitting at 24.
The Smoke Eaters have the 3 hottest hands in the BCHL. Kent Johnson has 83, Michael Collela has 53, and Owen Ozar has 55.
The special teams battle sees the Cents looking to get back to converting on the PP a night after going 0/7.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents -10.3% (17th) Cents – 73.4% (17th)
Trail – 24.4% (3rd) Trail – 86.2% (3rd)
The battle in the blue paint has become a little muddy for the Merritt Centennials. Tanner Marshall may be down with injury and the Cents will be either hoping for a miracle recovery, turning to emergency backup Bryce Garcia, or bringing in an affiliate.
The Smoke Eaters have young tender Logan Terness at their disposal as well as Matteo Paler-Chow. Terness is 21-8-2 with a .930 SV% and a 2.44 GAA. Paler-Chow is 10-10 with a .882 SV% and a 3.53 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter is hoping the Cents can replicate the effort they showed last time in Trail.
“If we can battle like we did on Tuesday. I think we will have a better result.”
The Cents will hope to battle their way to some points tonight.
Puck drop 7pm. Pre-game 6:45 on Q101 and HockeyTV with Jared Thomas.
The Cents were able to skate with the Vees for the first 20 minutes of hockey, but a 6 goal 2nd period led to a 9-1 route against the top team in the Interior.
In the first period the teams were evenly matched, but skill was on display. Top prospect Danny Weight took on the Cents defense 1-on-4 and dangled out the other side, then fired one tweener up and over the shoulder of Marshall to open the scoring 1-0. Evan Benwell was able to answer for the Centennials late in the frame with a slick move of his own, breaking in all alone, he faked forehand, pulled backhand and popped It over the shoulder of Stankowski to make it 1-1. Shots after 1 were 15-11 Vees.
The Vees exploded for offense in the 2nd period. Bulging the twine 6 times to lead 7-1, they got goals from Jay O’Brien, David Silye, Jackson Niedermayer, another from O’Brien, Tristan Amonte, and Jack Barnes. The Cents found themselves behind 2 just 3:30 into the second, and had an opportunity on the PP at the 5:30. They were unable to score with the man advantage, and even with a time out couldn’t turn the tide of momentum that the Vees had seized. The game slipped away there, and never really came back. Shots after 2 were 33-17.
Local Merrittonian Bryce Garcia started the third with Tanner Marshall leaving the ice with injury. He was able to hold his own stopping 11/13 and was only beaten by goals in the final minute. The Vees were able to add a couple late, one of them coming off a Centennials skate for an own goal to make it a 9-1 final. Final Shots were 46-29 Penticton. The Cents went 0/7 with the extra man, but held the Vees to one goal on 5 powerplay opportunities.
After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said the Cents just couldn’t slow down the Vees momentum.
“You could feel the game starting to turn. I tried to call a time out to slow the game down, but the Vees could smell blood in the water and came at us hard.”
The Cents will look for a better fate tomorrow night in Trail.
The Merritt Centennials (10-29-1-3) take on division rivals the Penticton Vees (33-11-1-1) tonight.
The Centennials are coming off a hard fought loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters on Tuesday where they were in it until the final buzzer. 2 forwards short of a full deck, and with 2 defensive APs in the lineup, the team was able to take one of the best teams in the Interior Division down to the wire. Despite being down by 2 goals heading into the second frame, the Cents battled back with Torzsok scoring the first PP goal of 2020, and Nameth sniping top corner to make it 3-2 after 2. Captain Rylan Van Unen led by example in the third and tied the game up early on. The Smoke Eaters were able to get a two goal swing in the middle of the period with one of the goals being of the own goal variety to make it 5-3, but Jerzy Orchard answered right back to keep the Cents in it 5-4. Former Cent Matt Osadick scored the empty netter to ice the game and make it a 6-4 final. Tanner Marshall gave his team a chance to win stopping 40 of 45 shots.
The Penticton Vees come into this one pretty hot, and are feeling good about their play in the new year as they've gone 6-1 to start the year, and are 4-1 in their last 5. On Wednesday they were able to squeak by the Vipers in overtime 2-1, and split a double header against the Trail Smoke Eaters winning 5-1, and falling 4-3 Before that they piced up a 3-1 win versus Langley, and an 8-4 drubbing of the Victoria Grizzlies. Surprisingly, the 4 goals against from Victoria is the high water mark of the new year, the Vees have used solid team defense to keep opponents to 3 or less for the remainder of games and have held their opponents to just a goal in 4 of those contests. Offense will be hard to come by for the Cents if they're not willing to work for it and go to the dirty areas.
The season series sits 4-0 in favour of Penticton. The Cents have lost 7-3, 4-1, and 4-1 at home and in the lone contest in Penticton to date lost 5-0. In the season series, they've been outmanned 20-5. The Cents will need to bring the effort that we saw earlier in the week against the Smoke Eaters to stand their own in hostile territory.
The Cents need their top scorers to come through. Christian Buono leads the team with 30 points, Payton Matsui has 27, and Daniel Tkac if he's healthy has 24.
The Vees have solid team defense, but they also have a score by committee approach up front. Captain David Silye and Jay O'Brien lead the team with 48 points while Lukas Sillinger has 47, and top prospect Danny Weight has 45.
The special teams battle sees the Cents trying to build off their first goal with the extra man in 2020.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents - 10.4% (17th) Cents - 73.1% (17th)
Vees - 19.7% (6th) Vees - 82.6% (7th)
The goaltending duel sees Marshall as the go to guy, with the Centennials forced into an emergency back up situation with Winter on the shelf. Merritt's Bryce Garcia will be waiting in the wings should Marshall get hurt, but Marshall is 6-16 with an .883 SV% and a 4.75 GAA.
The Vees have got one of the best goaltenders in the BCHL in their back pocket. Yaniv Perets is 19-7-1 with a .916 SV% a 2.20 GAA and a league high 5 shutouts. Carl Stankowski is 9-3 with a .908 SV% and a 2.12 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says if the Cents bring the kind of effort they did the last time out they won't be on the outside looking in.
"The guys really gave a great effort against the Smoke Eaters and you love to see that battle. If they keep bringing that battle, they'll start seeing results."
The Cents are looking forward to their first win of 2020.
Puck drop 7pm. Pre-game 6:45 on Q101 and HockeyTV with Jared Thomas.
The first batch of nominees for the NCAA’s Hobey Baker Award have been announced and there are 18 BCHL alums up for the honour.
Among the long list of nominees is none other than former Cent, Zach Risteau (2016-2018). During his two seasons with the Cents the forward put up 70 points in 74 games played. This season with the St. Lawrence Saints he's put up 7 goals and 14 assists in 23 games played.
The award is based on the following criteria:
There are over 75 players nominated and they were submitted by the athletic departments of the Division I schools with a maximum of three candidates from any one school.
Fans have the opportunity to vote for players by visiting the Hobey Baker voting page.
Fan voting for the award will run through Mar. 9. Phase two of fan voting will begin Mar. 18 after the announcement of the top-10 nominees. The Hobey Hat Trick finalists will be revealed on Apr. 2 with the winner being announced Apr. 10 at the Frozen Four in Detroit, Mich.
The Merritt Centennials deserved a better fate on their 3rd try against the Smoke Eaters as they fell by an empty net score of 6-4.
In the first period, the Cents were skating with the Smoke Eaters, Tanner Marshall was doing Tanner Marshall things in net, but the Smoke Eaters finally pulled through with 2 quick goals within a minute to take a 2-0 lead into the 1st intermission. Shots after 1 were 17-12 Smoke Eaters.
The middle frame saw the Cents score their first goal on the powerplay of 2020 to make it 2-1. Hunor Torzsok ripped a shot top corner blocker side in the high slot to get the Cents off the mat and into the game. The Smoke Eaters answered to restore the two goal edge, but Chase Nameth ripped a wrister in the same spot as Torzsok to bring the Cents back within one 3-2. Shots after 2 were 34-23 Trail.
Captain Rylan Van Unen tied the game early at 3’s with a shot past Paler Chow. Van Unen then had some chances shorthanded, but couldn’t convert. The Smokies would add two more, one a bat out of mid-air and another an own goal by the Cents to go up by two. Full credit to the Cents, they didn’t back down and Jerzy Orchard brought the Cents back within one 5-4 for a thrilling finish. It was former Cent Matt Osadick who would ice the game for the Smoke Eaters with an empty netter to make it a 6-4 final. Final Shots were 44-32 Trail.
After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter applauded the teams effort and compete.
“Even with the bench short, we were able to find another gear. I’m proud of the group, and if they continue to bring this effort they aren’t going to be on the losing side too often.”
The Merritt Centennials play next against the Penticton Vees on Friday before returning to Trail on Saturday.