Sunday, September 15, 2013

Centennials Fall To Warriors In Home Opener:

Jeff Wight scored his first and second goals of the 2013/2014 BCHL season as his Merritt Centennials were edged by the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday night by a score of 4-3.

Russell Sanderson stopped 26 of 30 West Kelowna shots, while Shane Poulsen added a single for the Cents, who went 3-for-5 on the powerplay, after going 1-for-7 the night prior. Six Cents picked up assists, all of whom played in the BCHL last season.

Getting West Kelowna on the board was Carl Hesler, Matt Anholt, Tyson Dallman and Braxton Bilous. Anholt and Bilous also added assists as Ambrose Firkus set up two Warriors goals. Andy Desautels stoppefd 22 of 25 Merritt shots in the win.

With the loss, the Centennials fall to 1-3-0-0 on the season while the Warriors are now 2-2-0-0.

Merritt's powerplay woke up in this hockey game and what a joy that was to see. For them to go 60% was great, and their penalty kill wasn't bad either at 75%. Jeff Wight scored with the extra man 13:34 in to the opening period, after Carl Hesler opened the scoring for the Warriors at 7:08, also on the man advantage. The Warriors had three of their four powerplays in the first period, as the Cents showed great discipline through the entire game. Shots in the opening frame were 10-7 West Kelowna, and the game was split at 1.

The 2nd period was a bit of a back and forth battle, as icings and offsides took over the bulk of the period and neither team developed any offense. The only real opportunities were stopped easily by the teams goaltenders', who were both keen on their game all night long. Both teams picked up 11 shots in the 2nd, but with just a single penalty aside, there wasn't much for sparks.

The 3rd period was very exciting, and under two minutes in the game would pick back up as Braxton Bilous wired a wrist shot through several players in traffic, putting West Kelowna up 2-1. Bilous would then head to the box shortly after, and 2:05 after his goal Shane Poulsen would fire a point shot through to the back of the net to tie the game. Payton Schaefer and Diego Cuglietta finally had their hard work pay off with points on the board. But don't blink yet; West Kelowna restored their lead under 5 minutes after that as Tyson Dallman used his long stick to his advantage to score his first BCHL goal. The game would then settle down for several minutes before the Warriors went up by a pair, as Brennan Clark chose to dish off to Matt Anholt who scored blocker side on Sanderseron. Clark was robbed by Sanderson earlier on the game on a even strength breakaway. 2:40 after the 2-goal lead was built up, Jeff Wight added his second goal of the night on a goal mouth feed, with assists to Sebastien Pare and Dane Birks. The Cents pushed late with the empty net but couldn't force pressure, and the Warriors were able to pick up the win for the second straight night, and sweep all four points from the Cents in the two game set. Shots to end the game were 30-23 in favor of the Warriors.

Merritt travels to Trail on Tuesday night for the first meeting of the season with the Smoke Eaters. Game time at Cominco Arena is 7:30, and the broadcast on Q101 begins at 7:00 sponsored by Norgaard Ready Mix.

The Cents return home next Friday as the Smoke Eaters visit the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena at 7:30.

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