The Merritt Centennials (3-15) get set for their final match of the pod season against the Prince George Spruce Kings (12-5-1) tonight.
On Wednesday night, the Cents got into penalty trouble early and Prince George capitalized en route to a 5-1 loss for the boys in white.
The first period saw the teams skate fairly even for the first 7 minutes of play. Hunor Torzsok got off to a good start when he turned a puck over at centre and dished a pass for Linden Makow who got a shot away with Ben Ward all over him defensively that fooled Josh Dias to open the scoring. As the Spruce Kings have done throughout the pod, they scored in bunches as Christian Buono added another one on a skate-by deflection that changed direction and beat Dias to make it 2-0. The Cents then took a late penalty and PG made them pay with Hunor Torzsok deflecting home a shot from his office in the goal mouth to make it 3-0.
In the middle frame PG continued to get the damage done with the extra man converting early on the PP was Rowan Miller. Around the 6 minute mark Mason Waite scored just as a Cents powerplay expired to make it 5-0. From then on the Spruce Kings were in cruise control and despite Cents chances around the net they couldn’t make anything happen in the period.
The final stanza was largely uneventful. The Spruce Kings sat back and the Cents put the pressure on, but were only able to break the shutout bid late on a goal from Captain Zack Dallazanna. It was his 4th of the pod season as Dias shut the door the rest of the way stopping 30 of 35 shots.
Prince George got back to their winning ways against the Centennials last game after dropping two games in a row. Before that they were the hottest team in the pod rattling off 6 straight wins. With a pod championship on the line, you know the Spruce Kings will be battling to the max and the Cents will have to match their intensity.
After having a tough game offensively, the Cents are still led by Walker Erickson up front with 11 points. Ward, Zakall, and Brandon Dent all have 9 while Captain Zack Dallazanna has 8 points.
Christian Buono continues to roll for the Spruce Kings with 23 points, Nick Rheaume has 16 points and Captain Mason Waite has 15 points.
Special teams wise the Cents will have their hands full with the Spruce Kings units for one final time.
Powerplay: Penalty Kill:
MER – 12.3% (14th) MER – 77.9% (10th)
PG – 22.6% (6th) PG – 87.7% (3rd)
The battle in net sees the Cents goalies ready to stare down the Spruce Kings for one final time. Josh Dias is 2-11 with a .889 SV% and a 4.15 GAA. Colton Phillips-Watts is 1-3 with a .863 SV% and a 5.75 GAA.
Aaron Trotter has been the best of a great bunch of goalies in PG. He’s 6-3 with a .935 SV%, a 1.59 GAA and 2 shutouts. Jordan Fairlie is 4-2 with a .897 SV%, a 2.53 GAA and 1 shutout. Kobe Grant has had the most limited action but is perfect at 2-0 with 2 shutouts.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says the team will need to bring their work boots to come out on top in this one.
The Cents are hoping to play spoiler for one final time against the Spruce Kings tonight.
5PM puck drop, 4:45 pregame on Q101.ca and BCHLTV.ca with Jared Thomas and Michael Reeve.