The Merritt Centennials (0-1) welcome the Penticton Vees (2-0) to the NVMA for the first time in the regular season tonight.
The Centennials are coming off a 3-1 loss in their season and home opener to the Wenatchee Wild. Vincent Guy scored the lone goal of the contest for the Centennials on their first powerplay. He made a quick move from skate to stick to get a shot off the far post and in. Joey Berkopec and Daniel Tkac helped set up what is so far the Cents only form of offense this year. The Wild tied the game late in the first period before getting the go ahead goal in the 2nd period, and icing the game with an empty netter to make it 3-1 after a chance to tie it up from Rylan Van Unen went just wide.
The Penticton Vees are coming off a double-header against the Trail Smoke Eaters in which they came away victorious from each game. In their season opener, the Vees topped the Smoke Eaters 4-1 with two goals from Tristan Amonte, and a goal from David Silye and Evan McIntyre. The follow up game saw the Vees storm out offensively with a 7-1 victory. Danny Weight, son of NHLer Doug Weight, led the way for the Vees with a goal and 4 assists and now leads the league in scoring. Liam Malmquist and Jay O’Brien each had 3 point nights, and Steve Holz and Conner Hutchinson added some offense from the backend.
The Cents can rely on some experience with the Vees as they met twice in the preseason, albeit a pair of losses. The Cents fell 3-1 in their preseason opener in Penticton with Olson Werenka scoring the only goal for the Cents, and they followed that up with a 5-2 defeat at home. The one thing the Cents can hope to take advantage of is the fact that in those two games they were still carrying a number of prospects that didn’t make the final roster. Now at full strength, the Cents will look to put their new look roster to the test.
The teams split the early season special teams battle. The Cents hold the edge on the PP while the Vees have been perfect on the penalty kill so far.
Powerplay Penalty Kill
Cents – 50% (3rd) Cents- 80% (11th)
Vees – 27.3% (6th) Vees – 100% (1st)
The Cents only have 3 players with points so far Guy with the lone goal, Berkopec and Tkac with the assists to lead the team offensively.
The Vees are led by Danny Weight with 5 points, while Jay O’Brien and Liam Malmquist each have 3 points.
The goaltending battle will see the Vees come in with both tenders seeing action, while Ryan Winter was the lone Cents goalie to see action so far. Winter is 0-1 with a .946 SV% and a 2.00 GAA. Of the goalies involved in a loss in opening weekend he sports the best numbers of the bunch.
Yaniv Perets is 1-0 with a .958 SV% and a 1.00 GAA while Derek Krall is even better at 1-0 with a .967 SV% and a 1.00 GAA.
Assistant Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says that the Cents just have to continue to get better as a team.
“There’s lots to work on right now, but we continue to work hard in practice and we will be ready for the games this weekend.”
The Cents will look to be the better team tonight.
Puck Drop 7pm. Pre-Game 6:45 on Q101 and HockeyTV with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.
Be sure to come by the NVMA early to catch carvers from the Merritt Loggers Sports Show performing a quick carve from 6-7pm!