Date – Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Game Time – Puck drop 7:00 pm
Location – Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, Merritt B.C.
Broadcast –Q101 & BCHLTV
West Kelowna Warriors – 19-12-0-0
Merritt Centennials – 2-24-1-0
The Merritt Centennials are back in action tonight at the NVMA to face the dangerous West Kelowna Warriors.
The Cents struggled to get all their lines rolling in a penalty-filled affair in Prince George that saw them fall by a score of 5-1.
It didn’t take long for things to get moving in the first after an early penalty by the Spruce Kings. However, it would be PG who would capitalize as Colton Cameron would score shorthanded on the rush to open the scoring. Ryan Mulrenin would answer with a blast on the PP to even the score at one, but the Cents would surrender another goal on the ensuing faceoff and before the game was 3 minutes old it was 2-1 Spruce Kings. That would spell the end of Jackson Baker’s night, as he gave way to Peyton Trzaska in relief. Austin Fraser would add another in the first to make it 3-1 after one. Baker stopped 3/5 in the frame, while Trzaska would stop 12/13.
Despite some penalties on both sides, no scoring would result in the 2nd frame – in large part due to the play of Trzaska in net stopping all 22 shots he saw in the 2nd.
It looked like if the Cents could score to start the 3rd they could make it a hockey game, but it was the Spruce Kings with the early bounce that came to their leading scorer John Herrington who hammered a shot home to make it 4-1 just 18 seconds into the final stanza. Prince George would get some late insurance on the penalty kill when Ty Gagno bulged the twine to make it a 5-1 final. Trzaska ended the night with a peppering stopping 53/56 shots in the contest.
After the game Head Coach Toneff said limiting chances would be a priority moving forward.
“We have to realize as a young team that you have to play hard on both sides of the puck, and if one guy misses his mark in the D-Zone it opens up passing lanes and shooting lanes in the offensive zone.”
West K lost a pair of games last weekend to Trail and Prince George but have had the Cents number this year including a 8-2 win just two weeks ago. Felix Trudeau leads the way for the Warriors with 37 points (20G, 17A).
The Cents and Warriors have faced each other three times now this season with West K winning all three by fairly lopsided scores. Despite the big wins, the games have actually been quite close through two periods before the Warriors stretched out the leads in the third.
Blue Paint Battle;
The goaltending situation in Merritt has been solidified thanks to a deadline move to bring in Jackson Baker. Baker is 0-2 with a .800 SV% and a 10.55 GAA after getting the hook on Saturday in PG.
Hicks, if available, is 0-4 this year with a .867 SV% and a 5.22 GAA.
West Kelowna has Johnny Derrick posting a 14-8 record with a .900 SV% and a 3.18 GAA, backup Justin Katz in 5-4 with a .916 SV% and a 2.85 GAA.
Special Teams Comparison;
West K – PP 18.9% (13/18) PK 80.8% (8/18)
Cents – PP 10.8% (18/18) PK 67.4% (18/18)
By: Michael Reeve via Q101 Merritt