Photo Credit: Garrett James
The Merritt Centennials (7-5) road swing continues after returning home from the Island, they travel over the Connector to take on the Penticton Vees (5-4).
This wil be the Cents 5th road game in a row, and so far on the road trip they are 3-1, picking up wins over the Vipers, the Bulldogs, and the Eagles while suffering their lone defeat at the hand of the Capitals. The Cents picked up 4 of a possible 6 points last weekend, and hope to carry over some momentum from their last win against the Eagles. If they can manage a similar start, one that saw them shoot out to a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of play with goals from Mathieu Gosselin, Brett Roloson, and Rylan Van Unen, they should be okay. Nick Granowicz got the eventual game winner, as the Centennials weathered a late Eagles comeback to win 4-3. Vincent Duplessis also picked up his third win in as many starts against the Eagles.
The Vees spoiled the celebration of the Humboldt Broncos when these teams met last, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first, and making it 5-0 before the Cents started to turn the game around. The Cents would get as close as 5-3 before the Vees iced the game on the powerplay with a goal from then newcomer Andre Ghantous to win 6-3.
Penticton is coming off a 2-1 loss against the Vernon Vipers, but before that had rattled off three in a row, including that game on September 28 against the Centennials. They also continue to tinker with their group as they’ve added Eric Linell, former Eagles and Express forward, to the mix and have parted ways with Devon Mussio.
Brad Cocca and Nick Granowicz represent the Cents in the top 10 in league scoring with 15 and 14 points a piece, and Granowicz is coming off an honorable mention after scoring 3 goals and adding an assist over the Island road swing. Mathieu Gosselin and Nick Wicks aren’t far behind with 12 points each.
The Vees continue to rely on David Silye to provide offense as he has 16 points. The’re hoping newcomer Eric Linell can continue to produce in a Vees uniform as he has 12 points, and Ryan Sandelin has chipped in with 8.
The Cents continue to win without elite special teams. They are now 15th in the league with the extra man at 14.9% and last in the league in regards to the penalty kill at 72.7%. The Vees have the edge at 13th on the powerplay with 15.2% and 8th on the penalty kill at 83.8%
In net the Cents are stil looking for a break out game from either Austin Roden or Vincent Duplessis. Duplessis has won his last 3 starts and is 3-2 with a .891 SV% and a 3.10 GAA. Roden has picked up more wins at 4-3, but has a .877 SV% and a 4.10 GAA. The Vees have gotten some solid performances from Jack Lafontaine who is 4-3 with a .917 SV% and a 1.87 GAA. However, the Cents last saw Derek Krall who is 1-1 with an .881 SV% and a 3.55 GAA.
Head Coach Joe Martin says the Vees present a challenge, especially on their ice.
“You can’t get lost looking at the Vees record, Penticton wil always be Pentiction, and they’ll always be a good club. They’ve made some improvements, and we have to continue to improve.”
The Cents will hope to end a losing streak against the Vees that goes all the way back to Game 7 of the 2016-17 Playoffs.
Puck Drop 7pm. Pre-Game 6:45 on Q101.1FM or online at q101.ca with Jared Thomas