Date – Saturday, January 14, 2022
Game Time – Puck drop 7:00 pm
Location – Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, Prince George B.C.
Vernon Vipers – 16-9-2-1
Merritt Centennials – 2-23-1-0
The Merritt Centennials look to bounce back tonight after suffering a tough one to the hands of the Vernon Vipers last night.
The Cents started strong, but showed no finish on Friday night against the Vernon Vipers as they opened the scoring but allowed 9 unanswered goals in a 9-1 loss.
Cents started off with a bang due to one of the newcomers, Drew Dornan, hammering home his 1st in the BCHL by putting the biscuit upstairs just 1:04 into the contest. However, the Vipers would slowly start to slither back in the contest and put the pressure on. The Cent that never was, Luke Lavery (acquired via trade for Walker Erickson), tallied for the Vipers to tie the game at the 7 minute mark and Cam Macdonald would gain the lead at the 11 minute mark. Jacksonn Baker looked strong in his opening period of action stopping 17/19 shots.
The Cents were looking to battle back in the 2nd period, but the Vipers didn’t let the pedal off adding another 3 including a pair of goals just 8 seconds apart. The Cents would call a time out to try and settle the troops, and while it stopped the goals – the Cents weren’t able to find any success on the scoreboard through the remainder of the frame. Baker stopped 29/34 through 2.
The third frame didn’t shine too kindly on the Centennials either as the Vipers continued to roll picking up 4 more goals. Baker would stop 41/50 in a tough debut with his new club.
There were some bright spots for the Cents including some new faces who made some special things happen on the ice, but overall the Vipers proved to be too much.
The Spruce Kings come into the contest 3-2 in their last 5, but winners of their last 2 games including a 3-1 win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Wednesday night. John Herrington leads the way for the Spruce Kings offensively with 34 points, while Nick Rheaume has 28, and Simon Labelle has 27.
The Cents and Spruce Kings have clashed 4 times already this season, but all of those meetings occurred under the old regime of Dave Chyzowski. This will be Head Coach Curtis Toneff’s first crack at the BCHL’s most northern franchise. So far the Cents have yet to win a game against their Northern rivals falling by scores of 5-2, 5-2, 6-3, and 8-1.
Blue Paint Battle;
The goaltending situation in Merritt has become a little clearer with the Jackson Baker acquisition from the trade deadline, but he had a rough night out in his first taste of BCHL action getting peppered for 50 shots and allowing 9 goals and an .820 SV%.
Hicks will not be available and is 0-4 this year with a .867 SV% and a 5.22 GAA.
Prince George will turn to Aaron Trotter in net. The BCHL veteran is 9-7 with a 2.58 GAA and a .907 SV% this year. Jordan Fairlie is the 1-B option with a record of 7-2-2-1, a 1.64 GAA and a .932 SV%.
Special Teams Comparison;
Spruce Kings – PP 27.4% (4/18) PK 82.4% (5/18)
Cents – PP 10.4% (18/18) PK 66.2% (18/18)