The Merritt Centennials weren’t able to get the bounces on Friday night, and Penticton cashed in when they had the chance for a 4-1 final.
The first period was pretty even early on, but the Cents didn’t learn the lessons from Wednesday night in regards to discipline and marched to the box 3 times in the opening frame. The Cents were able to dodge the bullet on the first penalty, but on the second one it ended up in the back of the net. Connor Hutchison shot a puck from the point, the Cents pushed a Vees player into the net, wiping out Winter, and Hutchison was able to find the lose puck and put it past the Cents goalie. It was unfortunate or fortunate, depending on the side you were on, bounces that marked the score sheet on Friday night, but throughout Ryan Winter played solid turning aside grade A chances by the Vees. Shots after one were 19-10 in favor of Penticton.
The middle frame saw a couple goals in quick succession in which the NVMA played an integral part. Ben Ward was back in the line up for the first time in a few games, and he made the most of it. Early on in the period he took the puck out of the corner, took a shot on bended knee, and though he originally missed the net, it bounced off the glass, off the back of Perets and in to make it 1-1. The tie would be short lived as Tyler Ho would fire a blast that went wide, but ricocheted off the end boards right back on his stick and his second shot beat Winter low glove to restore the 1 goal lead 2-1. The Cents would push for more offense, but couldn’t capitalize on their chances crashing around the net. Shots after two were 37 -21 Vees.
The Vees would get on the scoreboard early on in the third. After throwing a shot on net, Olson Werenka made the block, but it fell right onto the stick of oncoming Colton Kalezic to make it 3-1 for Penticton. Shortly after the goal, Rylan Van Unen would be called on a tripping penalty, and the Vees would go back to man advantage. As they always seem to do against the Cents, the Vees capitalized when they needed it most. Ryan Winter made a save while up high, and wasn’t able to clutch the puck to the chest, and the puck fell right onto the stick of Danny Weight who popped it in to make it 4-1. The Cents didn’t show much push back through the remainder of the third, only throwing 5 shots on net through the period. Final shots were 52-26 Penticton.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter wasn’t available for coaches comments after the game as he had a locker room chat with the team.
The Cents will look to take game 2 of the home-and-home series Saturday night against the Vees at the SOEC at 6pm.