The Merritt Centennials had another internal battle on a Friday where the BCHL is starting to play host to exhibition games across the league. Team Red managed to survive a late scare from Team White in game 1 to hang on with a 2-1 victory, and Team Black came back with a vengeance after surrendering the opening goal to Team Green with a 5-2 win.
In the early contest, the teams were skating evenly until the first penalty of the game. On the powerplay, veteran Talon Zakall opened the scoring with a seeing eye shot from the line that went top shelf after a dish from Zack Dallazanna and Joe Davidson. The newcomer Davidson then did some more digging behind the net, working the puck free for Dallazanna at the right circle where from bended-knee he blasted through to make it 2-0 Red heading into the first intermission.
The second half was more evenly contested with Team White pushing for the equalizer throughout the frame. Alex Ochitwa would net his first of the morning by picking five-hole to give Team White some life. Sparked to life, Team White tried to pull the goalie to get the equalizer, but Team Red would stand tall for the 2-1 win.
Team Black and Team Green came out flying with some pace and an early goal was found by Josh Olson after a good passing play between Grayson Valente and Zakall. The 1-0 lead for Green wouldn’t last long as Jacob Dewitt went to work from the blueline unleashing a lethal shot with his large frame after Ben Ward set him up. Then returning forward Jerzy Orchard would get on the board after some more solid work by Ben Ward and Chase Cooke to set him up. Dewitt went back to work from the blueline after a dish from Lucas Lundy, he wired a lazer towards net that caught Ochitwa in the midsection and deflected in to make it 3-1 Black at the end of the first half.
The boys in black kept rolling in the second half as Orchard would add another after a nifty feed from Ward got him open in front, Orchard popped it upstairs on the backhand to make it 4-1 Black. Dallazanna would get sprung by Ochitwa for a breakaway, and despite bobbling the puck on the approach, he got enough of a shot away to fool the goaltender and make it 5-1 Black. Team Green would get a late one after a rocket from Zakall on the line would find Carson Preston to the side of the net for a rebound goal.
Overall it was another good internal test for the teams ahead of exhibition play which begins when the Trail Smoke Eaters come to town on October 9th.