The Merritt Centennials (1-4) get set for a rematch against the Trail Smoke Eaters (6-2) tonight.
The Centennials will be looking for revenge, while the Smoke Eaters have played the Prince George Spruce Kings in between meetings. The Cents and Smoke Eaters were in a tight 1-0 game through 40 minutes last Thursday, a large part of the reason was due to the stellar play of Josh Dias. Through 2 periods the Centennials netminder had his head on a swivel and was denying all comers on chance after chance. Trail heavily outshot Merritt through 2 periods of play 25-14 and in the third period it finally started paying dividends. Just 14 seconds into the third the Smoke Eaters were able to sneak one past the guard of Dias and the game slowly unraveled from there. The Centennials took 5 minor penalties in the third period and added 4 misconducts as they were never able to get momentum going for a steady stretch. The Smokies showed no mercy adding 4 goals in the final frame and making it a 5-0 final.
The Smoke Eaters are coming off a tight 2-1 shootout win over the Prince George Spruce Kings on home ice where Zack Feaver scored late in the first frame, before Rowan Miller scored in the second. With no scoring in the third or overtime the game went the distance to the shootout where Chase Dafoe and Feaver added 2 goals to Christian Buono’s one to lift the Smoke Eaters over the PG.
The Centennials will look to discover some offense as coming into the contest they have 6 goals over 5 games, and Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter feels the goal scoring needs to come by way of committee as there’s no established big gun on the Cents roster. The time on the road with a hotel stay will be a good opportunity for the team to bond, and will be made all the better if they can find a way to come together for some offense and some wins.
The Cents continue to be led by ex-Smoke Eater Trevor Isaksson with 3 points, while Ward, Orchard, and Valente have all tallied a pair.
The Smoke Eaters continue to be led by Connor Sweeney who has 8 points. Connor Michaud and Captain Cody Schiavon have added 6 points, while Dafoe, Disher, and Wakeford all have 5.
The penalty kill for both clubs is strong, but the powerplay could use a little work for both clubs as well.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
Trail – 11.9% (14th) Trail – 92.3% (1st)
Cents – 11.1% (15th) Cents – 82.8% (10th)
The goaltending duel sees Dias getting the lions share of the work but with a back to back situation there’s a good chance we will see Colton Phillips-Watts get his second start of the preseason. Dias is 0-4 with a .855 SV% and a 5.01 GAA. Phillips-Watts is 1-0 with a .960 SV% and a 1.00 GAA.
Cayden Hamming scored the win in Merritt and is now 2-1 with a .954 SV% with a 1.34 GAA and 1 shutout. Logan Terness is 4-1 with a .911 SV% and a 2.94 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter is preaching a strong breakout to lead to some more offense.
“What we are seeing on the video is that when we have guys keeping it simple in the neutral zone, and getting a crisp pass out of the defending zone we are having some better looks. We need to keep it simple in our own end and run our lines up the ice.”
The Centennials are hoping that they break out to a win tonight.
Puck drop 7pm on BCHLTV.ca and Q101.ca. Pre-game 6:45 with Jared Thomas.
Catch the watch party at Boston Pizza Merritt – make your reservation now by calling 378-4222.
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