The Merritt Centennials continued their perfect output against the West Kelowna Warriors, but this time in the Warriors barn, by a score of 5-4.
It started off early for the Cents who converted just under two minutes into the game. Matt Kopperud deflected a Mattias Dal Monte point shot past Brock Baier to make it 1-0. The Warriors would tie things up on their first powerplay of the game with a shot off a set play from the draw to level the game 1-1. The Cents would respond on a powerplay goal of their own when Jackson Munro walked in from the left point, and dangled in and juked Baier out of his jock strap, then found Kopperud to the side of the net who blasted it into the empty cage. The energy line would convert just moments later with Daniel Tkac streaking down the right wing and finding Guy out front to make it 3-1. That would chase Baier from the net, and in would come Connor Hopkins. Chase Dubois would answer for the Warriors to make it 3-2 after 1.
The second period posed some problems for the Merritt Centennials as a carousel to the penalty box on both sides meant that the Cents couldn’t get into a rhythm. The Cents would suffer as a result and surrender two goals to make it a 4-3 lead for the Warriors after 2 periods of play.
The Cents came out a different team in the third, and it started to pay dividends. Playing cleaner it was all hands on deck, and Brendan Schneider would tie the game 6 minutes into the third when he drove the net, fired a shot, and picked up his own rebound to score his 11th of the year, and tie the game at 4’s. With the game on the line late, it was rookie Brett Roloson who sniped one low, just inside the far post, to give the Cents the lead late. The Cents and Austin Roden would hang on for the win in the final minutes.
After the game, Assistant Coach Brandon Shaw said it was a character win for the club.
“All credit to the team for this one. They calmed themselves down after the second, came out with a renewed effort in the third and this one belongs to them.”
The team will try and replicate that effort tomorrow night when the Nanaimo Clippers come to town for Teddy Bear Toss night.