It was two steps forward – one step back for the Merritt Centennials but they survived a see-saw battle against the Nanaimo Clippers 5-3.
The first period was an absolute snoozer on both sides of the puck, with both teams getting an opportunity on the powerplay and being unable to convert. Shots after 1 were 11-5 for the Cents with Austin Roden not seeing a whole lot of pucks early.
In the second period the Cents came to play. Nick Granowicz scored 55 seconds in after being found by Joey Berkopec back door to make it 1-0. Matt Kopperud scooped out a puck from the net front melee and popped it over Pavlisin to make it 2-0 under 2 minutes in. The Clippers got a lucky bounce in front off a Cents defender to make it 2-1. Then the Cents regained the two goal margin after Brady Ziemer slapped a backhander from the line to make it 3-1. The Clippers crawled back to make it 3-2 before Matt Kopperud came out of the box, and was set up by Cocca at the top of the left circle for a rifling wrist shot up stairs to make it 4-2.
In the third, the Clippers scored early to make things tight 4-3 before Payton Matsui ended up giving the Cents some insurance with a hard nosed goal. Going in for a wraparound then collecting his own rebound to make it 5-3.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin said the Cents found their way after they started playing their way.
“We kind of got sucked into playing their style in the first, but we brought some Cents hockey early in the 2nd and it paid dividends.”
Next up is the Victoria Grizzlies tomorrow afternoon at 4pm.