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Natural Hat Trick From Nick

The Merritt Centennials stormed back from a 2-0 deficit with 5 unanswered goals to win 5-2 over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

The first period started slow for the Merritt Centennials. Matthew Verboon scored 4:17 into the game on a goal mouth scramble to give the Silverbacks the early lead. The Cents would get a two-man advantage mid-way through the frame, but weren’t able to make much happen and the Silverbacks would get a break shorthanded and Verboon would add another. Vincent Duplessis got the start and surrendered 2 goals in the first on 12 shots while Ethan Langenegger stopped all 10 shots he faced.

The Cents came out as a different team to start the second. With an early powerplay opportunity, Head Coach Joe Martin opted to switch things up putting the energy line of Vincent Guy, Frazer Dodd and Daniel Tkac on with Mattias Dal Monte and Talon Zakall on the point. The gamble paid off as Dal Monte kept it alive at the line, Tkac found Dodd behind the net and he would stuff it short side on Langenegger to get the Cents into the game with new life. It didn’t take the Cents long to tie things up as under a minute later Captain Nick Wicks would score on the rush to make it 2-2. The Captain of the Centennials wasn’t done there as he’d finish off a gorgeous passing play with Mathieu Gosselin and Brad Cocca in front to make it 3-2, and then finish off a natural hat trick with a spin around shot top corner to make it 4-2. A scary moment occured before the Cents gained the lead as Frazer Dodd was hit heavily behind the play. Dodd would go to the tunnel bleeding, and shaky on his feet, and wouldn’t come back to the game. Shots after a Cents dominated 2nd period were 34-20.

The final frame saw the Cents hang on and add some late insurance from Christian Sabin into the empty net. Final Shots were 47-30, and Duplessis and the Cents get back to the win column by a score of 5-2. The powerplay went 1/6, and while the Cents weren’t shut out this weekend with the extra man, thay went 2/13.

After the game Coach Martin really gave credit to the players.

“There wasn’t much said after the first. We talked long after the game last night, and earlier today. The players knew what they had to do, and they had a great second period.”

With the win the Cents will remain in a tie for 2nd in the Interior Division with the Wenatchee Wild, but still trail the Penticton Vees by 3 points.

Look out for the Centennials as they go door to door on Sunday from 10-4 looking for donations for the Food Bank.

Next up the West Kelowna Warriors next Friday in West K.