Merritt Centennials
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The Merritt Centennials (10-28-1-3) get set to clash with a foe they're all too familiar with in January in the Trail Smoke Eaters (26-14-2-1) tonight.

The Cents are coming off a pair of losses to the West Kelowna Warriors over the weekend where they had brief moments of weakness that led to large swings on the scoreboard. In game 1 on Friday, the Cents allowed 3 goals in 49 seconds. During a 5-on-3 powerplay they surrendered a quick goal, then another at 5-on-4, then another at even strength to be down 3-0 before the game was 10 minutes old. Despite that they battle back to get within 2 before the third period, but didn't have the push needed to comeback for the win despite a goal from Captain Rylan Van Unen in the third. On the Saturday, the Warriors scored in the final minute of the first, but the Cents were only trailing 2-1 by the end of two courtesy a goal from Payton Matsui. Once again, the third period proved to be the difference as the Warriors added three more to make it a 5-1 final.

The Smoke Eaters are coming off a double dip against the Penticton Vees where they split the series 1-1. They won game 1 in Trail by a score of 4-3, but were unable to get going offensively in Penticton where they fell by a score of 5-1. In the loss, former Cent Matt Osadick scored his first as a Smoke Eater.

The Cents and Smoke Eaters prepare to meet for a 5th time this season and the first time this week, as they will be back on Saturday to take on Trail. The season series sits soundly at 0-4 for the Cents as they've been outscored 28-10 by the Smoke Eaters. The young defense of the Cents will have their hands full containing the offense of the Smoke Eaters, and Tanner Marshall is going to need to turn in a game stealing performance if the Cents want to pick up the points that they so desperately need. After dropping both decisions against the West K, the Cents now sit 3 points back of the Warriors in the bottom of the BCHL.

The Centennials will need their offensive guns firing. Christian Buono leads the team with 30 points, Payton Matsui has 28, and Daniel Tkac has 24.

The Smoke Eaters feature the top 3 scorers in the BCHL. Kent Johnson has 78 points, Owen Ozar has 51, and Michael Colella has 49.

The special teams battle sees the Cents slumping on the powerplay in 2020, and going up against the 3rd best team in the league.

Powerplay:                                 Penalty Kill:

Cents - 10.1% (17th)            Cents - 72.6% (17th)

Trail - 25.1% (3rd)                  Trail - 86.6% (3rd)

The goaltending duel sees Tanner Marshall looking to pick up his first win of 2020. He's 6-14-1 with an .883 SV% and a 4.74 GAA. Logan Jorginson from the Osoyoos Coyotes of the KIJHL is the emergency back up tonight after Ryan Winter took a tumble and injured his elbow.

Logan Terness is the goaltender of note for the Smoke Eaters at 20-8-2 with a .929 SV% and a 2.49 GAA. Matteo Paler Chow is 9-10-1 with a .883 SV% and a 3.50 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter says that the Cents need to stick to a simple gameplan to have success.

"Our guys need to keep it simple on the ice. In the defensive zone, and in the offensive when we play simple, we win battle, we have success."

The Cents will look to have some success tonight.

Puck drop 7pm. Pre-game 6:45 on Q101 and HockeyTV with Jared Thomas.

 

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Cents opener 2019

After dropping a pair of games to the West Kelowna Warriors over the weekend, the Merritt Centennials find themselves in last place in the BCHL and out of the playoff picture.

West Kelowna sits three points up on Merritt with both squads having 16 games remaining, zero versus each other.

Here’s a breakdown of the home stretch for both teams; (stats as of Jan. 13)

Home vs Road Games Remaining; (Advantage – Cents)

Cents - 7 Home 9 Road

Warriors - 7 Home 9 Road

*Note – West K has a 3-in-3 island swing remaining

 

Games against Teams over/under .500 (Advantage - Warriors)

Cents – 14 over – 2 under

Warriors - 13 over – 3 under

 

Vs Top 5 in the BCHL (Advantage – Draw)

Merritt sees; Coquitlam x1, Penticton x2, Cowichan x0, Nanaimo x0, Trail x3

West K sees; Coquitlam x0, Penticton x2, Cowichan x1, Nanaimo x1, Trail x2

 

Vs Bottom 5 in the BCHL (Advantage – Warriors)

Merritt sees; West K x0, Victoria x0, PG x1, Surrey x1, Langley x0

West K sees; Cents x0, Victoria x1, PG x1, Surrey x1, Langley x0

 

Should West K and Merritt finish the regular season tied in points and wins, Merritt won the head-to-head tiebreaker +1. (Season series goal differential)

Cents continue their playoff push tomorrow night (Tuesday Jan.14) in Trail. Catch the game on Q101 starting at 6:45 with Jared Thomas.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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The Merritt Centennials were unable to get past the West Kelowna Warriors in game 2 of the double header and fell by a score of 5-1.

In the first period the Cents kept things close and nearly escaped the period scoreless, but Carter Wilkie scored in the final minute to put the Warriors up 1-0.

The middle frame saw the Cents and Warriors trade goals. Payton Matsui scored the lone goal of the night by beating Derrick five hole, but the Warriors were quick to answer on the powerplay with a goal from Deegan Mofford to regain the one goal lead. Tanner Marshall had to make some sensational saves late in the frame to ensure that the Cents were only trailing by one heading to the 3rd.

The Warriors were the only team who showed up for the third period as they’d score three more unanswered, one on the powerplay, to take the game 5-1.

The Centennials have now been leap frogged by the West Kelowna Warriors and sit in last place in the BCHL.

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said the team needs to stay out of the box.

“Discipline was another story again tonight. We can’t afford to give the other team that many chances, and we paid the price.”

Cents are next in action on Tuesday against the Smoke Eaters.

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The Merritt Centennials (10-27-1-3) look to take game 2 of this weekend's double header against the West Kelowna Warriors (8-25-5-2) tonight.

The Merritt Centennials had a tough outing last night where a 49 second span in the first period really was the game as they couldn't come back from the 3 goal turn in an eventual 5-3 loss to the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Cents had a number of young players in the lineup and early on you wouldn't know it. It wasn't until the Centennials went to the penalty kill that they showed sign of weakness. The Warriors quickly went to a two man advantage, and quickly scored a pair of goals to make it 2-0. After going back to even strength, West K would add another one and in the span of 49 seconds the Cents found themselves down 3-0. The Cents opted to pull Tanner Marshall in favour of Ryan Winter to energize the bench. The move paid off as Thomas Manty would answer for the Centennials with a quick shot blocker side on Derrick to make it 3-1 with Orchard and AP Brett Mero setting him up. The Warriors would get another tally by beating Winter down low, five hole to make it 4-1. Late in the frame, Evan Benwell danced into the zone made a deke to the backhand and was stoned on the line, but Jake McLean followed up the play to push it across for the goal to make it 4-2.

Things slowed down in the 2nd period as teams traded chances, and Derrick came up with a number of quality stops to keep his team in the lead. The Centennials went to the PP, but it wasn't the turning point they were hoping for as Carter Wilkie would score short handed to make it 5-2. It would stand up as the only goal of the period despite the increased pressure from the Cents. Rylan Van Unen got the Centennials within two in the final frame, but the goal came too little too late with 6 minutes to go. Try as they might, the Cents couldn't find more offense and the Warriors would hang on for the win. Final shots were 37-32 Cents.

The Warriors have some reinforcements coming in after a couple of their trades completed yesterday at the deadline. Corey McCann will add some help on the blue line, and Elan Bar Lev Wise will add some punch up front at the expense of Max Bulawka. The Warriors didn't look too worse for wear last night, but had some well placed shots and good goaltending from Johnny Derrick en route to victory. The season series now sits 3-2 for the Centennials, but the Warriors have won the last two match ups. The Warriors now trail the Cents by just a point in the standings, and the season series and possible playoff berth hangs in the balance. The Cents will need solid goaltending, and some solid play from their affiliates to come out with a victory.

Christian Buono remains the leader up front with 30 points. Payton Matsui has 26, and Daniel Tkac has 24 points.

West Kelowna is led by Tyler Cristall and John Evans with 26 points followed by defender Nick Ardanaz with 21 points.

The special teams battle sees the Cents still awaiting their first goal with the extra man in 2020.

Powerplay:                                    Penalty Kill:

Cents - 10.2% (17th)               Cents - 72.8% (17th)

WK - 18.3% (9th)                      WK - 75.1% (15th)

The goaltending duel sees both Cents netminders looking for a better showing in game 2 of the double header. Tanner Marshall is 6-12-2 with a .883 SV% and a 4.73 GAA. Ryan Winter is 3-13-1 with a .903 SV% and a 3.94 GAA with 1 shutout.

Johnny Derrick played sensational last night and is 4-12-1 with a .905 SV%, a 3.38 GAA and 1 shutout.

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the start has to be there tonight.

"We can't be chasing all night, we need to get the first goal, have a strong first period and go from there."

The Cents are still waiting to start 2020 with a win.

Puck drop 6pm. Pre-game 5:45 with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve on Q101.

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The Merritt Centennials had a tough 49 second span in the first period and couldn't come back from the 3 goal turn in an eventual 5-3 loss to the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Cents had a number of young players in the lineup and early on you wouldn't know it. It wasn't until the Centennials went to the penalty kill that they showed sign of weakness. The Warriors quickly went to a two man advantage, and quickly scored a pair of goals to make it 2-0. After going back to even strength, West K would add another one and in the span of 49 seconds the Cents found themselves down 3-0. The Cents opted to pull Tanner Marshall in favour of Ryan Winter to energize the bench. The move paid off as Thomas Manty would answer for the Centennials with a quick shot blocker side on Derrick to make it 3-1 with Orchard and AP Brett Mero setting him up. The Warriors would get another tally by beating Winter down low, five hole to make it 4-1. Late in the frame, Evan Benwell danced into the zone made a deke to the backhand and was stoned on the line, but Jake McLean followed up the play to push it across for the goal to make it 4-2. Shots after 1 were 14-10 West K.

Things slowed down in the 2nd period as teams traded chances, and Derrick came up with a number of quality stops to keep his team in the lead. The Centennials went to the PP, but it wasn't the turning point they were hoping for as Carter Wilkie would score short handed to make it 5-2. It would stand up as the only goal of the period despite the increased pressure from the Cents. Shots after 2 were 25-23 Warriors.

Rylan Van Unen got the Centennials within two in the final frame, but the goal came too little too late with 6 minutes to go. Try as they might, the Cents couldn't find more offense and the Warriors would hang on for the win. Final shots were 37-32 Cents.

After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said the team needs to make sure their start is better.

"You can't start a game like that, especially on home ice. If we want to have success we need to keep ourselves in the game early on and not be chasing all night."

The Cents will look for a better result tomorrow as they are now just 1 point ahead of the Warriors for the final playoff spot in the BCHL.

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