The Merritt Centennials battled through adversity all pod season long and in the end couldn’t grind out an extra 5 minutes in their final test as they fell to the Chilliwack Chiefs by a score of 4-3.
After having one of their worst starts of the pod the night previous, the Cents had one of their best in their final effort. Despite surrendering the first goal of the game to Sasha Teleguine and the Chiefs, the Cents used the strength of their powerplay to get back into the game. Alex Ochitwa threw a shot on net that was deflected through the five hole by Ben Ward in front to open the scoring. It would be Ward again later in the frame when he collected a pass off a dent turnover and ripped it past Caron to make it 2-1 in the first. Shots after 1 were 13-13 Cents.
There wasn’t a whole lot going in the second period as the Cents and Chiefs both traded chances and spent a lot of time in the neutral zone. A late major penalty in the period resulted on a lengthy chance for the Chiefs and Captain Kyle Penney was able to capitalize to make it at 2-2 game after 2. The Chiefs took the edge in shots in the 2nd 27-21.
In the final frame, the Cents started on the penalty kill and couldn’t break that mentality early. Teleguine would add his 2nd of the night in full flight up the middle before roofing one past Josh Dias to make it 3-2 Chiefs before Ethan Bowen tallied on the powerplay to make it a 4-2 game. The Cents were able to start a comeback push on a powerplay of their own when Talon Zakall scored from the point to make it 4-3. However, the Cents night ended in heart break as they couldn’t find the late equalizer and would fall by a score of 4-3. FInal shots were 44-37 in favour of the Chiefs. Cents went 2/6 on the powerplay while the Chiefs went 2/5. The Chiefs win sets up a battle for pod supremacy between the Chiefs and Spruce Kings tomorrow night.
After the game things were emotional as the teams 20 year old players spent the last moments of their junior hockey careers soaking up some last minutes of ice time at the Coliseum.
The Cents would like to salute their graduating players: Captain Zack Dallazanna, Assistant Captain Liam Visram, Assistant Captain Trevor Isaksson, Goalie Josh Dias, and forward Matteo Pecchia. We wish you all well in the next chapters of your hockey careers and your lives, and hope you remember this wild ride with the Centennials fondly.