The Merritt Centennials answered the bell early, but couldn’t mount the comeback late as they fell to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 4-1.
Early on the Cents had trouble escaping their own zone, and they eventually paid the price. Tim Gould scored by a seeing eye shot from the blueline that found its way past Ryan Winter. The early goal seemed to snap the Cents into game mode as Brett Roloson came flying down the left wing and sniped a shot top corner and popped the water bottle on Pearson to tie the game at 1-1. The offensive chances continued on both sides with a couple powerplays apiece, but the offense dried up for the remainder of the period. Shots after one were 13-10 in favour of the Cents.
The second period saw both teams skate pretty evenly through the first 10 minutes and change. However, it would be the Bulldogs who would find the net first. On a rush Tommy Bannister received a centering feed and deked out Winter to make it 2-1. Then with the Centennials shorthanded it was former defender Jackson Munro who tallied for Alberni on the powerplay after walking in from the left point to make it 3-1. The Cents pressured to get the ball rolling before the period was out, but were unable to beat Pearson. Shots after 2 were 29-24 Cents.
The final frame saw the Centennials try to mount the comeback, but the Bulldogs didn’t give them much time in their zone. The Cents only mounted 5 shots on the Alberni net, and midway through the period they had to kill off a 5-on-3. The penalty kill was improved killing off 6/7, but a late empty netter was awarded to Mitch Deelstra after Olson Werenka was ruled to have thrown the stick. Final shots were 42-34. Final score was 4-1.
The Cents will hit the reset button tomorrow afternoon as they look to pick up important points against Interior Division rival Trail Smoke Eaters from Penticton at 4pm.