The Merritt Centennials and West Kelowna Warriors was chalked up to be a meeting of two of the top teams in the Interior Division, but only one of those teams came to play as the Centennials stomped the Warriors 8-3.
The teams tested each other early in the first before the Centennials finally broke the deadlock. Rylan Van Unen received a feed from Payton Matsui and Brendan Schneider, and ripped a quick shot from the high slot, top shelf to get the 1-0 lead. Matthew Kopperud got the second goal of the night by dangling past a defender, regaining the puck and then shooting down low to beat Connor Hopkins. Schneider got the third goal of the game on the Cents first powerplay, after Nick Wicks saucered a feed across for a Gosselin one-timer, Schneider found the big rebound for the 3-0 lead. Shots after one were 17-8 Centennials with Austin Roden making the start.
In the second, the Cents powerplay continued it’s torrid pace with Gosselin finding Nick Granowicz on the back door, not once but twice. Granowicz finished off two beautiful set ups by the Goose at the 1:46 mark and the 5:50 mark to give the Cents a 5-0 lead and chase Connor Hopkins from the net. Ironically, on the goal Roden picked up his first assist of the season, and leaves Vincent Duplessis as the only player on the Centennials who hasn’t registered at least a point. The Warriors would score on the breakaway to break the goose egg for Roden, but Christian Sabin and Joey Berkopec would answer right back for the Centennials and Brock Baier would have a rocky start to his relief duties. The Warriors would add another before Brad Cocca would convert on a goal-mouth shot after following Nick Granowicz to the net. Shots through 2 were 29-21 Cents
The Warriors would score the lone goal of the third period, but it could’ve been more than one if not for sensational saves from Roden during the final 20 minutes. He ended up stopping 42 of 45 shots for the victory.
Energy Player of the Game – Joey Berkopec – 1G, 1A
3rd Star – Austin Roden – 42 saves on 45 shots
2nd Star – Mathieu Gosselin – 3A
1st Star – Nick Granowicz – 2G, 1A
After the game Head Coach Joe Martin credited the win to one thing.
“I think our intensity carried over from our game on Friday, and the guys were ready to play. They were fighting for he puck all over the ice, and just wanted it more, and it showed on the scoreline.”
Next up for the Cents is the Wenatchee Wild at the NVMA on Wednesday night, 7pm puck drop.