Date – Saturday, October 9, 2021
Game Time – Puck drop 7:00 pm, Pregame show 6:45 pm
Location – Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, Merritt BC
Broadcast – CKMQ-FM Q101 & BCHLTV
Salmon Arm Silverbacks – 0-0-0
Merritt Centennials – 0-1-0
The Merritt Centennials are set to bounce back tonight as they face the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in their second game in as many nights to open the season.
The Cents and Backs haven’t faced each other since the final game of the 2019-2020 campaign when Salmon Arm defeated Merritt 3-2. That contest was over 590 days ago, the only remaining Centennials on the roster are Talon Zakall, Ben Ward, Chase Cooke, Jerzy Orchard and Wyatt Marlow.
The Latest Outing;
It was a game to forget for the Merritt Centennials Friday night at the NVMA as the Spruce Kings played opening night spoiler with an 8-1 final.
The contest opened with an early goal of the year candidate from Centennial Walker Erickson who dipsy-doodle-dangled around his man with a beautiful inside-outside move at the blue line before firing low past Aaron Trotter. The assists on the play supplied by Deegan Mofford and Wyatt Marlow. The marker would be the only goal allowed by the PG netminder as he would go on to stop 16/17 in the win.
From there on it was Prince George taking over the game, with goals from John Herrington and Kilian McGregor Bennett before the end of the first to take a 2-1 lead to the room.
The middle stanza opened with a bad line change from the Cents leading to a 3-1 break the other way finished off by Rowan Miller.
The game would remain close until the 16:52 mark when PG would open the flood gates finding twine three more time over the final minutes to lead 6-1 after two.
The third frame began with a goaltending change for Merritt with John Hicks lifted after allowing 6 goals on 25 shots, albeit none of them were completely his fault. Brayden Melnyk would stop 13/15 in relief.
Special Teams Comparison;
SA – PP 0% PK 0%
Cents – PP 0% PK 40%
Players to Watch;
After a highlight real goal less than 24 hours ago, Walker Erickson looks to be in midseason form and ready to take on entire lines by himself. Erickson leads the Cents in scoring with 1 goal.
The Backs leading scorer from the Pod season Simon Tassy is returning from his 20-year-old season. Tassy put up 27 points, 18G-9A, in twenty games last season.
Blue Paint Battle;
It was a rough opening night for Cents starter John Hicks who was victimized by some beautiful powerplays from PG and left to defend odd-man rushed too many times on Friday. He enters the contest with inflated, limited sample size numbers; 9.00 GAA, .760 sv%. Alternatively, the Cents go run with Brayden Melnyk who was solid in relief a night ago stopping 15/17; 6.00 GAA, .867 sv%.
Salmon Arm has three goalies on the roster lead by veteran Owen Say, along with Liam Vanderkooi and local rookie Gabriel Murrells-Allaway. Say went 7-6 in the pod season posting a 2.82 GAA and .907 sv%.