Tonight gives the Vipers a chance to hop over the Merritt Centennials in the standings and get back on track, while the Centennials have other plans. Head coach Luke Pierce wasn't all too pleased with his clubs game last night in a loss to Trail, so expect the injury-riddled Cents to come out with an edge to their game.
Much like Vernon, Merritt's struggles early on this season have been widely based on consistency issues, as neither club has really thrown in the towel in a game this season aside from Vernon's 6-1 loss to Salmon Arm in their home opener back on September 13th.
Details on the Q101 broadcast can be found at the bottom of the post!
Vernon Vipers (1-2-1-1)
The Vipers aren't playing in the exact same boat as they were last season, because the expectations this year are just that much higher with the RBC Cup coming to town in the spring. That doesn't change much as far as approach goes, because you want to ice the best team possible in any season, but the 2013/2014 campaign has something special about it for the Vipers organization.
They've allowed 21 goals over their first 5 games, and if you discount a 1-1 tie with Chilliwack at the Showcase you get 20 goals allowed over the other 4 games. That's a number the Vipers will look to keep to a minimum tonight, as goal scoring hasn't been quite the difficult task, especially for Mason Blacklock, who has 4 goals in 5 games.
You look at this clubs roster, and it seems evident that there will come a point they come out of their shell and start winning games consecutively, the only question is.. Can the Cents avoid triggering that wake-up call?
Speaking of wake-up calls, one would hope the Centennials got theirs when Jesse Knowler buried the game last night for Trail with a wrist shot from the blue line with just over a minute remaining. The Cents failed to play the entirety of the game, with the second half of the contest seeing less and less offensive development.
The key for the Centennials tonight is to play a full game, and play it well. There's no secrets to a simplified game, and that's all they need to do. There is a big two points on the line tonight and this team has a tonne of talent and with the home-and-home with Trail behind them, I wouldn't be surprised to see a much faster Centennial team tonight.
Injuries have been an issue early on, and the problem grew last night as Daniel Nachbaur left the game with a laceration on his arm, although he is expected to return to the lineup sooner rather than later. Nachbaur joins Tyler Martin, Diego Cuglietta, Zach Hartley, Rhett Willcox and Russell Sanderson in the stands; a list that contains far too much talent.
The Norgaard Ready Mix Pregame Show fires up at 6:30 PM, as we give you the low down of what's on the plate for tonight's game. We'll be joined by another new member of the Cents during the first intermission, as well as both teams' coaches in the pregame. If you can't turn to 101.1 FM and hear the game, check out Q101.ca or BCHL.ca for Listen Live links.
The Cents next game is nearly a week from tonight, next Friday, as they visit the South Okanagan Events Centre and the Penticton Vees who call it home. Looking forward to meeting Fred & Fraser and the gang in charge of the 2012 RBC Cup champs!