Merritt Centennials’ aggressive showing helped them beat Prince George Spruce Kings for the second time on home turf this season.
The Cents registered a close 4-3 win after goals from Sawyer Prokopetz, Dylan Lariviere, Jaxson Murray and Nathan Taylor at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on November 18.
Cents coach Brian Passmore was pleased with the effort. “We were much better today. We had a great attitude and energy throughout the game. We were good in the power play as well. I told the boys to play with full emotions. So, overall I am quite satisfied with the outcome. There are few minor details that need to be fixed,” Passmore said.
Aggression was on display from the onset as the Merritt Centennials took shots at the Kings’ net eight times in the first 10 minutes of the opening period. Such was the Cents’ dominance that the game was largely played in the visiting team’s zone for the most of the first period.
A brilliant save by goalie Karlis Mezsargs in the 12th minute was received by a round of applause from the enthusiastic Cents supporters. Although both teams failed to take any advantage when a two-minute penalty was imposed on both teams, the Cents soon cashed in on their first opportunity to take lead when Sawyer Prokopetz found the net after a neat assist from Dylan Wegner just 13 minutes into the game.
The visitors equalized as soon as the second period kicked off with Linden Makow clinically finishing the job after assistance from Scott Cousins and Owen Goodbrand. The Cents’ attacking play was rewarded as Lariviere struck in the power play just seconds after Kings had equalized. This was Lariviere’s fourth consecutive game with a goal.
Comeback man Murray’s second goal of the weekend deflated Kings’ hopes as the hosts took a 3-1 lead in the second period.
The Cents virtually sealed the game after a brilliant effort from Nathan Taylor provided a 4-1 lead just six minutes before the second period ended. Kings put up a fight with their second goal through Alexis Cournoyer in the 17th minute of Period 2. A solo effort from Owen Goodbrand in the final period kept Kings in the contest and Cents fans on their toes. Despite asserting tremendous pressure in the third period, the Cents managed to hold the fort in the end to emerge victorious.
Game Coverage and story by Sports Writer Harit Joshi