The Merritt Centennials were able to make a late come back charge, but it wouldn’t be enough to find the late equalizer as they’d fall to the Chilliwack Chiefs 4-3 on Sunday night.
The first period saw the Chiefs and Cents trade chances, but the Chiefs were the only ones who could bury as they shot out to a two goal lead with markers from Ray Fust midway through the frame and Trevor Longo late. Shots after 1 were 20-9 Chiefs and Josh Dias was a big reason why the game remained close.
It took until midway through the frame for the offense to find the teams again, but again it was the Chiefs who would strike first. Ethan Bowen would add to the lead on a goal mouth scramble. Liam Visram would get the Cents on the board when he drove into the zone and set up in front of the net, after Talon Zakall made some moves and levelled a shot from the blueline Visram scored on a deflection to make it 3-1. The Cents couldn’t escape the period at that score line though as they’d allow another goal from Dawson Good to make it 4-1 at the end of 2. Shots after 2 were 35-16.
To their credit the Cents, as has come to be expected, didn’t go quietly into the night. After grinding in the offensive zone the Cents drew 2 penalties in quick succession and got a 5 on 3 advantage. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get set up and make anything happen. With the clock winding down the Cents got another chance on the powerplay and after some quick puck movement Ben Ward deflected home a Brandon Dent shot to make it 4-2. Zack Dallazanna would add a goal with 2 minutes left to make things interesting, but the Cents couldn’t find the late equalizer with he net empty. Final shots were 48-24. Cents went 1/5 on the powerplay while they were 3/3 on the PK.
After the game, acting Head Coach Levi Stuart said the team couldn’t replicate the effort they gave last night.
“It’s tough that we knew what it would take coming in, but we just didn’t put it into practice. We didn’t win enough of the battles tonight and we didn’t win the game.”
The Cents next take on the Prince George Spruce Kings on Wednesday at 5PM.