The Merritt Centennials who have been struggling for offense in their first two games of the preseason campaign finally broke through with an offensive onslaught against the Surrey Eagles winning by a score of 6-4.
In the first period, the Cents were able to jump out to an early lead thanks to the play of newcomer Connor Farren who tallied just 3 minutes in and who keeps increasing his Centennials stock in his bid to make the club. Jerzy Orchard was able to find a loose puck in front halfway through the frame to make it 2-0 and Josh Olson was able to break in past two defenders and bat a puck past the goaltender to put the Centennials up 3-0 after the first period. Shots were 9-8 in favour of the Cents.
The second period saw youngster Sam Ward continue to widen the Cents lead by finding the back of the net for his first in the preseason. The Eagles were able to answer on the powerplay to break their goose egg and make it 4-1, but the Cents would continue to push. Alex Ochitwa would pick up his second of the exhibition with a goal on the powerplay, before the Eagles would answer again to make it 5-2, but the Cents would add another one from Smith to make it 6-2 before the period was out. Despite great chances from Surrey, and carrying the play for stretches, the Cents had a strong game from John Hicks in the blue paint in his first start in the preseason. Shots after 2 were 21-19 for the Eagles.
The Cents opted to lock it down in the third and a big part of that was the play of Hicks, however, midway through the frame he got taken hard into the net and suffered a lower body injury. Despite trying to tough it out, the Cents eventually gave way to youngster Merik Erickson. Erickson found himself in a tough situation and after surrendering two goals, the Cents buckled down for the young goaltender and hung on for the 6-4 final. Total shots were 36-26 in favour of Surrey.
The Cents will get a bit of a break now before welcoming the Eagles to the NVMA for a rematch on Friday October 1st.