Merritt Centennials’ quest to register their first win of the season against Vernon Vipers still continues despite a spirited show at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on Friday (November 17).
The 4-2 score does not do justice to the Cents’ efforts. The Vipers made full use of a penalty to Michael Felsing as Luke Bibby scored a short handed goal in the first period. However, ace forward Jaxson Murray was quick to equalize just seven minutes into the second period. Six minutes later, the Centennials were put in the lead thanks to Dylan Lariviere, who scored without any assistance.
Cents coach Brian Passmore lauded the two goals. “Dylan has been very accurate for us. He has been hitting the puck well and so has been Murray. It is certainly pleasing to see them shine,” said Passmore.
But the Cents’ joy was short-lived as Connor Elliott found the net for Vipers six minutes later to level the scores. Linden Burrett scored the Vipers’ third goal in the final period before Erik Pastro sent one in the opposition’s empty net in the final moments of the game to seal the deal for Vipers. Chants of ‘Go Cents Go’ did not create any miracle towards the end.
Had it not been for nimble footwork and terrific reflexes from goalie Andrew Ballantyne, the score could have been worse for the Cents. Ballantyne stood like a wall, making some brilliant saves in the crease as Vipers took aim at the goal 39 times. The Cents had to fight hard for possession.
Although the Cents got some momentum after the second goal, the hosts could not maintain the tempo.
Passmore urged the boys to get hungrier if they have to win more games. “The boys lacked hunger tonight. We have to be more clinical in our efforts,” Passmore concluded.
Game Coverage and story by Sports Writer Harit Joshi