The Merritt Centennials (8-19-1-0) look to rebound tonight against the former coaching regime and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (13-12-0-2).
The Merritt Centennials battled back from a 3 goals deficit, but weren’t able to avoid a late goal from the Langley Rivermen for the 4-3 final. Ryan Winter held the Cents in it during the first period with big saves when the Centennials were battling the Rivermen and the refs. The Cents marched to the box 4 times in the first period and as such found it hard to get a flow going. They were outshot in the first frame 16-7. The second period saw the teams tentatively take chances at each other through the early goings of the action, but after a 5th Centennials penalty the Rivermen were able to pull through, and that broke the dam a little bit in net as they scored 3 goals in 3 minutes. Josh Kagan was able to get the Cents some life with a short side snipe over the shoulder of Fleming to make it 3-1 before the end of 2. Daniel Tkac continued the Centennials comeback effort in the 3rd with an early wraparound snipe upstairs to make it 3-2. Then when the Cents went to the powerplay they were able to get a quick tally, and the first as a Cent, from Christian Buono to tie the game at 3’s. Halfway through the period, the Cents had a turnover at centre and Langley danced in, Winter stayed with the forward all the way, but his last chance centering feed found Musa who made it 4-3 for the eventual winner despite the Cents going 2 man up in the last 2 minutes with a powerplay try. Final Shots were 39-31 Langley.
The Bulldogs are 2-3 in their last 5 games played, and are also looking to get back to the win column. Former Assistant Coach Brandon Shaw will be at the helm, as former Head Coach Joe Martin is off to the World Junior A Challenge as HC of Team Canada West. The Bulldogs haven’t suffered for offense of late as they fell 4-3 to the Victoria Grizzlies in their last effort, and 6-4 to the Cowichan Valley Capitals before that. They were able to top the Caps 6-5 for their last win, but were bested by the Spruce Kings before that 4-3.
The Cents and Dogs have clashed once already this season back at the BCHL Showcase. In that game, the Cents answered an early goal to make it 1-1, but for the remainder of the game the Cents ran into a hot goalie and the Dogs pulled away to make it 4-1 final. Former defender Jackson Munro tallied in that game, and will be a force to reckon with on the other side tonight.
The Cents did get some of their offense firing again last night as Josh Kagan leads the team with 18 goals and 10 assists. Daniel Tkac has 21 points after scoring a beauty, and Christian Buono has 19 points after registering his first goal with the team.
The Bulldogs are led by Captain Mitch Deelstra with 30 points, Ryan Doolin has 27, and Dawson Tritt has 22.
The special teams battle sees the Cents looking to catch lightning in a bottle after a much better effort overall.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents – 8.2% (17th) Cents – 70,8% (16th)
Dogs – 16.4% (12th) Dogs – 79.6% (11th)
The battle in the crease sees Ryan Winter coming off another great performance. He’s 2-10-1 with a .910 SV% and a 3.79 GAA. Tanner Marshall is 5-9 with a .879 SV% and a 4.76 GAA.
On the other side Luke Pearson is 6-6 with a .910 SV% and a 3.09 GAA. Jackson Glassford is 6-7 with a .910 SV% and a 3.46 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the effort the team gave in the third needs to be there all night.
“I think if we come out with the game we had in the third period for the whole game we will be fine, but we need to find the jump a little sooner.”
Puck drop 7pm from the Alberni Valley Multiplex. Pre-Game 6:45 on Q101 and HockeyTV with Jared Thomas.