Photo Credit: Garrett James Photography
The Cents pushed the pace, and had great stretches throughout the game, but they fell victim to the counterattack against the Vernon Vipers and fell 3-2 in regulation.
In the first period the Cents were outshooting the Vipers 6-1 when on the tail end of a powerplay, an ill-advised cross ice pass was picked off and played ahead to Connor Marritt who beat Austin Roden mid-blocker side for the 1 goal lead. After the goal the Vipers seized momentum and ended up out shooting the Cents in the first 8-6. The Cents couldn’t solve Aiden Porter in the first.
The middle frame saw the teams trade powerplay goals. The Vipers would strike first on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play on the rush. Jagger Williamson found Jesse Landsdell streaking to the net, who passed it to Matt Kowalski back-door to make it 2-0. The Cents would get within one on a shot from Mike Van Unen from the point on the powerplay that was deflected by Christian Sabin in front for his 7th of the season. A scary moment came in the 2nd when Jesse Landsdell caught Nick Granowicz up high with a hit. Despite being predatory in nature, Granowicz got to his feet quickly, but Landsdell was only assessed a 2 minute minor and a misconduct and would come back in the third. Shots after 2 were tied at 18.
In the final period, the Cents came out with a push, and drew a couple penalties to give them a 5-on-3 advantage, but couldn’t convert on the powerplay. The Cents were trying to be a little too cute with the puck, stick handling all over the zone, no-look back passes, and not many shots. Alex Swetlikoff would extend the Vipers lead by beating a defender outside, and then driving to the net with a shot that beat Roden to the far side post to make it 3-1. Shortly after Brady Ziemer would bring the Cents back within one by just throwing it on net from the half-wall and it found it’s way top corner. The Cents needed more plays like Ziemer’s in a game that the Vipers were collapsing to the net, but in the final 1:33 with the net empty they didn’t show enough desperation, and looked lackadaisical and didn’t find the equalizer. Final shots were 29-22 in favour of the Cents. Porter stopped 27/29 while Roden stopped 19/22.
After the game Head Coach Joe Martin said that the Cents need to simplify their game.
“We need to get back to our game plan, and that isn’t doing it on your own. Our best line was our energy line of Roloson, Dodd, and Ward and they had the least ice-time. The rest of the team needs to take notice.”
The Cents will hope that a return home will provide the tonic they need to get back in the win column against a Salmon Arm team that is coming off an 8-3 loss to the now streaking Wenatchee Wild.