The Merritt Centennials (2-6) look to rebound against the Chilliwack Chiefs (5-3) tonight.
After another tough night, the Cents continued to be mystified by the Prince George Spruce Kings and that trend continued on Friday night in a 5-0 loss.
After a strong first period that saw the Cents throw 11 shots on rookie netminder Kobe Grant to just 5 for PG it was looking like the Cents were finally ready to buck the PG curse. Josh Dias continued his strong play as one of the 5 saves of the periods came on the breakaway against Simon Labelle.
The second stanza didn’t see the Cents carry on with their offensive pressure as PG picked up an early goal just a minute in from Rowan Miller to make it 1-0. Late in the frame the Cents had a chance to get things going on the powerplay, but it was Andrew Seaman spoiling the party and scoring shorthanded to make it 2-0.
The Cents very much had a winnable game at the opening of the 3rd period if they could get some early offense, but it was ex-Cent Christian Buono who tallied within the first 22 seconds to make it 3-0. That would spell a bit of a downturn for the Cents as Prince George would add two more markers from John Herrington and a late one from Captain Mason Waite on the powerplay to make it a 5-0 final.
Chilliwack is coming off a shutout of their own over the Prince George Spruce Kings where they scored in the first period and hung on to win while adding an empty netter to make it a 2-0 final. The last time the Chiefs and Cents clashed it was Merritt hanging on in an offensive affair for a 5-4 win. The Cents will be looking to capture more of that lightning in a bottle against a Chiefs team that brings out the best in them.
After a scoreless night the team leaders remain unchanged for the Cents. Jake McLean has 6 points, Jerzy Orchard, Matteo Pecchia, and Talon Zakall have 5 points each.
The Chiefs are led by Tanner Andrew and Ethan Bowen up front with 7 points while 3 other Chiefs including Jackson Munro have 6 points.
The special teams battle sees the Chiefs with the slight edge.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
MER – 12.2% (12th) MER – 80.4% (9th)
CHW – 12.8% (10th) CHW – 83.3% (6th)
The Cents continue to ride Dias in the pod season so far, but could tonight be the night we see that change? Dias is now 2-5 with a .885 SV% and a 3.99 GAA. Colton Phillips-Watts is looking for another crack at things while Brayden Melnyk is looking for his maiden voyage in the BCHL.
Mathieu Caron has been the 2nd busiest goaltender so far in the pod with 416 minutes played, 2nd only to Josh Dias. He’s 4-3 with a .898 SV% and a 2.31 GAA. Jacob Gullmes is coming off a 1st BCHL win in his debut against the Cents and sports a .938 SV% and a 2.00 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter hopes playing the Chiefs tonight will continue to bring out the best in his team.
The Cents will be looking to bring together another win in the pod.
Puck drop 5PM. Pregame 4:45 on BCHLTV.ca and Q101.ca with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.