The Merritt Centennials got some offense, but not enough to take their first exhibition test as they fell by a score of 5-1 to the Coquitlam Express.
The first period saw the teams testing each other and the Centennials getting up to game speed. Despite the teams trading powerplay chances in the first neither could find the back of the net and the goaltenders stood tall. This included a 10 save effort from Colton Phillips-Watts to 11 shots for the Cents.
The scoring arrived in the second with some 4-on-4 play and a goal mouth scramble that saw the Express capitalize for the opening tally of the contest. The Centennials would answer when they returned to a 5 minute major with Wyatt Marlow finding a way to thread one through the needle from the corner to tie the game at 1. Arlo Merritt would regain the lead for the Express before the period was out to make it a 2-1 contest after 40. Shots after two were 21 a piece.
The final frame saw the Cents with a chance to battle back, but Ryan Tattle added a bit more distance just 30 seconds in to make it 3-1. He’d add his 2nd goal and 3rd point of the night 3 minutes later to make it 4-1, before the Express sealed the deal with a goal from Emmet McHardy to make it a 5-1 final. Wyatt Marlow dropped the gloves and was assessed an instigator penalty. Final shots were 31-28 in favour of the Cents.
The Cents will get another chance to test their newly formed roster against their pod rival Prince George Spruce Kings when they arrive on Friday night at 7pm.
Fans will be allowed to attend with proof of vaccination, masking, and no children under 12 without adult supervision.