The Merritt Centennials (4-14-1-0) look to reset for the rematch against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (17-4-1-0) in the second game of the home-and-home series tonight.
The Centennials are looking to replicate the effort they brought throughout the game and especially in the third period where they pushed the pace and were able to get chances, goals, and send the game to overtime. The first period was scoreless thanks to the play of Ryan Winter who stared down 3 powerplay chances from the Silverbacks. In the second period, the Silverbacks scored early, but Joey Berkopec was able to tie the game at 1’s with a great solo effort down the left wing, collecting his own rebound, and putting it past Langenegger. The Silverbacks added two more to make it 3-1 before the end of the second. In the third the Cents got back into the game late after Jake Mclean fed Payton Matsui in front and he flipped one backhand over the glove to pull the Cents within one. Talon Zakall tied the game with 23 seconds left with a blast from the point to force overtime. In OT, the Cents had a breakaway opportunity from their leading scorer, but Josh Kagan couldn’t convert. The Silverbacks were able to score after Ryan Winter was wiped out to the side of the net on a shot from Akito Hirose to win the game.
The Silverbacks will be looking to prove that last night was a fluke and that they are a better team. The Cents did get a number of Grade A scoring chances around the net, and couldn’t quite capitalize. Both goaltenders played sensational despite the number of goals allowed. The season series got off to quite a start last night.
The Cents are hoping a return home can give them the shot in the arm they need. The team has now picked up points in only 2 games on the road, and hope a return to the friendly confines of the NVMA will give the extra push in the must win moments.
Josh Kagan didn’t get on the scoresheet last night but continues to lead the team in offense with 18 points. Payton Matsui and Brett Roloson are now tied with 13 points, and Daniel Tkac has 12.
Akito Hirose scored the OT winner and leads his club with 27 points. Noah Wakeford is just behind him with 26, and Daniel Rybarik and William Poirier have 21 points.
The Cents penalty kill got a solid bump last night, but despite chances couldn’t cash in on the powerplay.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents – 6% (17th) Cents – 69.4% (17th)
SA – 18.7% (9th) SA – 84.3% (7th)
After the great start last night, Ryan Winter will get the call again. He’s 2-8-1 with a .910 SV%, a 3.75 GAA, and 1 shutout. Tanner Marshall is waiting in the wings and is 2-6 with a .879 SV% and a 4.42 GAA.
Ethan Langenegger has carried the mail for the Silverbacks and he could get a shot at redemption tonight. He’s 14-2 with a 2.22 GAA, a .927 SV% and 2 shutouts. Dylan Kruss is 3-2-1 with a .899 SV% and a 2.70 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the team is on the cusp of turning the game around.
“We are playing with heart, we are bringing the compete, we are leaving it all out there. We will have to do that again tonight if we want to win.”
The Cents will look to clutch the victory tonight.
Puck drop 7pm from the NVMA. Pre-Game 6:45 on Q101 and HockeyTV with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.
Fortis BC is giving fans a chance to win a $500 Visa Gift Card so be in attendance tonight!