The Merritt Centennials were in the game after 20 minutes, but the wheels fell off in the 2nd period in an eventual 7-1 loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters.
The first frame saw the Smoke Eaters score on their first powerplay on a lucky one. A shot from the point bounced off a couple defenders in front and up and over Tanner Marshall for the games first goal. Owen Ozar scored on a wraparound try 15 minutes into the first to make it 2-0. Shots after 1 were 15-9 in favour of the Smokies.
The Centennials wanted to come out of the gate strong in the 2nd period to work themselves back into the game, but it was the Smoke Eaters that came out hot. Jaden Senkoe scored 38 seconds ino the frame to get the ball rolling for Trail and by the 10 minute mark of the period the Cents were behind 6-0. Michael Colella scored two goals then set up the third to get the game out of reach for the Cents. Tanner Marshall was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 20 shots, and Ryan Winter came in for relief. Shots after 2 periods were 27-24 in favour of Trail.
In the final period the Cents found themselves in penalty trouble that kept them out of the offensive zone after back to back penalties. The Smoke Eaters would add one more in the third from Colby Elmer, before Josh Kagan broke the goose egg. He beat his man at the blue line and then the Trail goaltender, Logan Turness came out with the diving poke check. The gamble didn’t pay off and Kagan deked around him and shot into the empty cage. Final shots were 35-31 Trail.
After the game, Assistant Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter said the Cents just didn’t have the legs in this one.
“When we came out in the first it seemed like we were skating in quicksand, and we just couldn’t recover. I think the new guys are still learning what it takes to be ready for every game at this level. The positive is that we didn’t give up in the third.”
The Cents will look to be ready for their games next weekend against the Vernon Vipers on Friday, and back at home at the NVMA on Saturday.
We hope to see you at the Super Shine Car Wash from 10am -2pm on Voght Street tomorrow. Bring the car in for a wash, grab a hot dog, and meet the Centennials.