The Centennials found themselves in familiar territory against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night in game 2, but they couldn’t replicate their success of game 1 falling 5-2 in regulation.
The first period was much the same as a night ago, a string of good chances for the home side, and then one rush the other way and it was in the back of the Centennials net. Mack Byers let loose a wrist shot as he crossed the line, and it went post and in past the blocker of Roden to make it 1-0. Byers would add another on the PP later in the frame with just 2 seconds left to give the Smoke Eaters their first two goal lead of the series. The Cents came back with a power play marker of their own, when Mathieu Gosselin ran into a road block at the blue line, but fed the puck forward to Nick Granowicz, who found Matt Kopperud in the slot and he best Donovan Buskey low-glove to get the Cents back in it 2-1. That’s how the first period would end with shots 14-9 in favour of the Cents.
The middle frame did not go the Centennials way, as they could not get an iota of extended zone time. Trying to come over the line with dangle after dangle, the Smoke Eaters would watch them come and turn them back with quick exits time after time. The only line that could sustain any zone time was the energy line, and Matsui, Sabin, and Van Unen. Trevor Zins would add to the Smoke Eaters lead and restore the 2 goal edge with another shot quickly taken across the blue line beating Roden to make it 3-1. After 2 the shots were 25-19 in favour of the Cents.
The third started the way the Cents wanted it to – an early wraparound goal from Rylan Van Unen snuck past Buskey and in to bring the Cents back within one. However, the Cents quickly gave the lead back after an ill advised pinch at centre, and a strip by rookie Kent Johnson. Johnson went in all alone after Jackson Munro blew a tire on the back check, and had Roden at his mercy move forehand, backhand, last second forehand for the highlight reel goal that broke the Cents spirit. The Smoke Eaters added another on the PP to make it 5-2, and the Cents couldn’t muster an answer. Final shots were 34-31 Cents.
After the game a very salty Head Coach Joe Martin didn’t have much good to say about his team.
“I thought the bottom six played well, and played the right way, but I didn’t like our veterans, they were too cute with the puck.”
The Cents will try and get back to basics when the series resumes in Trail on Tuesday.
It means that there will definitely be a game 5 in Merritt next Friday March 8th, and you can get tickets on Monday at the Centennials marketing office.