The Merritt Centennials (2-12) take on the Chilliwack Chiefs (9-5) for the 8th time in the pod season tonight.
The Merritt Centennials continue to be mystified by the Prince George Spruce Kings as they were bested again by way of a 7-0 shutout on Wednesday night.
In the first period the Cents couldn’t muster much. Despite some decent zone time they only registered one shot on net. Colton Phillip-Watts kept the team in the game, but Christian Buono tallied a late period goal when he deked to the backhand on a partial break and beat PW.
The second stanza saw the Spruce Kings continue to pour it on. Kolton Cousins continued his hot streak by adding another goal, and the Nick Rheaume fired one short side and beat PW to the post. With about 7 minutes remaining in the 2nd period, and the Cents only mustering 5 shots total to that point, Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter elected to pull a goalie swap and put in Brayden Melnyk. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the desired effect as Buono would add another on a turnover to make it 4-0.
The final frame saw Prince George continue to pile on the offense. Hunor Torzsok scored his first of the pod with a beautiful skate by deflection to make it 5-0. Simon Labelle got his first of the pod later in the frame to make it 6-0, and Christian Buono topped off the night with a hat trick goal to make it 7-0. PG went 1/5 on the powerplay while the Cents were 0/5.
The Chiefs are coming off their 5-3 win over the Merritt Centennials a couple nights ago and are 3-2 in their last 5 games. The body count on both sides in terms of injuries remains high with the Chiefs and Cents having numerous players out, but both teams continue to persevere despite their injuries. The Centennials will have to match the intensity, and start out of the gates strong to give themselves the best chance to win.
The Centennials continue to be led by Walker Erickson and Matteo Pecchia up front with 8 points. Jerzy Orchard and Talon Zakall are just behind with 7 points.
Merritt will have to be wary of the big guns for Chilliwack. Kyle Penney and Ethan Bowen have 13 points, while Sasha Teleguine and Tanner Andrew have 11.
The special teams battle favours the Chiefs.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
MER – 10.2% MER – 77.2%
CHW – 17.5% CHW – 83%
The battle in net will see Josh Dias return to the crease. He’s 2-8 with an .881 SV% and a 4.10 GAA.
Chilliwack is riding the tandem of Mathieu Caron and Jakob Gullmes. Caron is 7-4 with a .909 SV% and a 2.45 GAA and 2 shutouts. Gullmes is 2-1 with a .903 SV% and a 3.03 GAA.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says that the boys need to keep grinding and finding a way in the pod.
The Cents are hoping they can grind their way to a win tonight.
Puck drop 5PM. Pregame 4:45 on BCHLTV.ca and Q101.ca with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.