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   Merritt Centennials:
Saturday, January 31, 2015 - Submitted by David Ashbaugh

The Centennials were in action for the first leg of the home and home against the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday night. With both these teams tied in the standings, this weekend certainly was very important for both teams, and had a bit of a playoff feel to it.

The Cents came out hard in the first and were rewarded at the 6:53 mark after Griffyn Martin sent the point shot purposely wide off the end end boards, and Micheal Ederer was able to collect the rebound and ripple the mesh to give the Cents the lead. They would follow that one up at the 12:13 mark on the man advantage.  John Schiavo let a wicked wrister go from the circle that found the top corner past Desautels, who was than pulled and replaced by Stephen Heslop. The goaltending change didn't help the Warriors as the Centennials would ripple the mesh once again at the 15:18 mark off the stick of Colin Grannary. West Kelowna would get one back before the end of the frame from Josh Bly to send it to the intermission 3-1 in favor of Merritt.

West Kelowna would pull it back within one just four minutes in to the second on the man advantage, after Rutigliano rippled the mesh past Imoo. The Centennials would shut them down for the rest of the period and regain the two goal lead at the 17:06 mark. Zak Bowles was able to send a pass cross ice and back door to Rhett Wilcox who made no mistake roofing it up and over the shoulder of Heslop short side to send it to the intermission 4-2 in favor of the Cents.

The Cents were not happy to just sit back and hold on in the third as they came out determined to increase their lead. They did just that at the 11:06 mark off the stick of Stephan Seeger, he was able to collect the puck at the bottom of the circle and let a no look spin-o-rama back hander go from the sharp angle that somehow fooled Heslop up high to increase the lead to three. Seeger would then follow that up with another impressive goal just under three minutes later. He was able to collect the puck in the offensive zone, fake the shot close side and cut behind the net, and with Heslop down and out he was able to tuck the puck in the far side on the wrap around to put the game out of reach for West Kelowna. The Cents were not done, however, as Josh Kobelka, who had a great game up until that point including a couple of scoring opportunities, was able to ripple the mesh with just two minutes left in the frame. West Kelowna would get one back with just 9 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late for the Warriors as they fell 7-3.

Second leg of the home and home goes at 7 on Saturday in West Kelowna, as the Cents will look to put some distance between them and the Warriors in the standings.

(Regular Season) Game
February 4th, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Nicola Valley Arena
(Regular Season) Game
January 31st, 2015 at 7:00 PM

1 - 2
Penticton 48 37 7 2 2 78
Vernon 47 30 14 1 2 63
Merritt 47 25 20 0 2 52
West Kelowna 49 23 20 0 6 52
Salmon Arm 48 21 19 3 5 50
Trail 47 16 28 0 3 35