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PTC Preview: Cents Vs Chiefs – Apr. 23

The Merritt Centennials (2-8) get set to take on the Chilliwack Chiefs (7-4) as they begin the 2nd half of their pod season.

Last Monday saw the Merritt Centennials still waiting to X the hex, as they played their strongest game against the Spruce Kings but left a little on the table in a 4-3 loss.

The first period saw the teams trade chances early on, but the excitement was saved for the final minute and the final second. Kolton Cousins scored with 23 seconds remaining to take the wind out of the Cents sailed and it looked like they were heading to the intermission empty handed. Wyatt Marlow changed that when he did a lap around the zone, looked at the clock winding down, and fired a shot on through a crowd of bodies that found the back of the net with 0.1 seconds remaining to tie the game.

After the late momentum boost in the first, the Cents couldn’t translate it into success in the 2nd. Prince George came out hungry, but the Centennials thought they had one against the grain as Josh Olson had a shot deflect up and off the blocker of Fairlie, off his back and in. The puck appeared to cross the line, but no official on the ice called a goal. PG was then able to draw a penalty early and Nick Rheaume was able to get a deflection past Dias to make it 2-1. Then the most lethal goal scorer in the pod went to work as Andrew Seaman scored his 7th and 8th goals back to back to make it a 4-1 game. The Cents were able to get a few chances, but nothing that was able to fool Fairlie.

With their backs against the wall, the Cents came to play in the third. After not finding much success offensively, the coaches threw the lines in a blender and the 9 (McLean), 10 (Ward), 11 (Pecchia) line was able to get to work. On a rush into the zone Pecchia had a chance to the side of the net, picked up his own rebound and was able to cash in through the five hole to make it 4-2. The remixed Preston line featuring Josh Olson brought the Cents within one when Preston set the platter for an Olson wrist shot top corner. However, it was 3 missed opportunities on the powerplay in the third period that came back to bite the Centennials as they couldn’t muster the equalizer.

The Chilliwack Chiefs are coming off something the Cents know well, a shutout at the hands of the Prince George Spruce Kings their last time out by a score of 2-0. Colton Cousins and Christian Buono scored for PG and the Chiefs were served a taste of their own medicine after shutting out the Spruce Kings twice already in pod season. The last time the Chiefs and Cents hooked up the Cents suffered a 4-1 loss where the Cents were snake bitten and couldn’t get the offense rolling. The Chiefs will be looking to regain the pod lead in points as the Spruce Kings lead them by just one.

Jake McLean continues to lead the way for the Cents with 7 points over 10 games, but he’s got some company in Matteo Pecchia. Jerzy Orchard and Talon Zakall have also chipped in with 5 points while 3 other Cents have 4 points.

The Chiefs are led by Ethan Bowen up front with 10 points while Tanner Andrew and Sasha Teleguine have 8 points to their credit.

The special teams battle sees the Chiefs with the edge.

Powerplay:                       Penalty Kill:

MER – 10.2% (15th)         MER – 77.8% (9th)

CHW – 14% (12th)           CHW – 85.1% (4th)

The goaltending duel sees the Cents turning to Josh Dias once more. Dias now 2-6 with a .886 SV% and a 3.99 GAA. Brayden Melnyk will serve as back up tonight.

The Chiefs have been leaning heavy on veteran Mathieu Caron between the pipes and he is 6-3 with a .911 SV%, 2.11 GAA and 2 shutouts. Jakob Gullmes is 1-1 with a .931 SV% and a 2.03 GAA.

Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter is hoping that the short break has renewed his club heading into the 2nd half of pod season.

The Cents are hoping they hit reset on part 2 of the pod with a win.

Puck drop 5PM. Pregame 4:45 on and with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.