The Merritt Centennials (8-16-1-0) look to rebound against the Penticton Vees (21-8-1-0) tonight.
The Centennials had their ugliest game of the year on the last trip out, and are looking to use the bad taste as motivation, but forget the game. They started shorthanded due to a delay of game penalty in the warm up, and things started to unravel fast. The Cents surrendered a goal a minute in and that would be the dreary forecast for the game. Trail, lead by Kent Johnson, would pump in 6 goals on the powerplay in the first period and would lead the game 5-0 after the first ten minutes. Josh Van Unen was able to score his first in the BCHL off a Talon Zakall rebound to make it 5-1 at the time, but after 20 minutes of play the score would be 6-1. All Trail goals coming with the extra man. In the second, Olson Werenka was able to sneak a powerplay blast down low, but the Smoke Eaters didn’t slow down on their powerplay output and added another to make it 7-2 after 2 periods. In the third, Trail would add two more at even strength to make it a 9-2 final. Tanner Marshall was on the hook for all 9 goals, but battled throughout the game like a pro. The Cents will need a much better effort against the top team in the Interior Division.
The Penticton Vees aren’t enjoying a strong string of play of late with losses in their last 3 games, and will also come into the game hungry for a win. The Vees are 2-3 in their last 5 and have made some moves to solidify their roster of late. Their last 5 games are as follows a 5-3 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings, a 4-0 loss to Chilliwack, a 7-2 loss to the Coquitlam Express, a 4-3 win over Langley, and a 2-1 overtime win over the Wenatche Wild. The team acquired Nico Somerville from the Victoria Grizzlies to bolster their back end and sent out Alex DiPaolo and Colton Kitchen in exchange. The Vees will be looking to right the ship against the Cents tonight.
Josh Kagan was held off the score sheet for the first time in the month of November, but is sitting at 19th in league scoring with 27 points. In fact, most of the roster was held off the score sheet and Daniel Tkac holds ground with 20 points, while Payton Matsui and Christian Buono have 17 points.
Former first round NHL pick Jay O’Brien leads the Penticton Vees in scoring and is 2nd in the BCHL 43. Danny Weigh has 33 points, and Captain David Silye has 30 points.
The special teams battle sees the Cents licking their wounds on the penalty kill, but steadily improving on the powerplay.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Cents – 8.3% (17th) Cents – 70% (16th)
Vees – 19.6% (7th) Vees – 80% (9th)
Tanner Marshall took the last outing in stride, and played great despite the teams performance in front of him. He is now 5-8 with a 4.58 GAA and a 878 SV%. Ryan Winter is still waiting in the wings with a 2-8-1 record, a .910 SV%, a 3.75 GAA and 1 shutout.
Yaniv Perets has gotten the call more often than not in the crease for the Vees. He is 12-5-1 with a .914 SV%, a 2.26 GAA and 3 shuutouts. Carl Stankowski is 4-2 with a .892 SV% and a 2.87 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the Cents have to get back to basics.
“We need to have a bigger push from top to bottom to compete in this league. You can’t afford to take a night off in the BCHL. We need to make sure our preparation is better, and our execution is better.”
The Cents will hope to restart the streak at a basic 1 tonight.
Puck Drop 7pm. Pre-Game 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101 and HockeyTV.