Sunday, September 29, 2013

Merritt vs Cowichan Valley Game Preview (Game 9):

The Cowichan Valley Capitals fell 5-0 at the South Okanagan Events Centre last night, the same sight as the Merritt Centennials previous game; also a loss. The two clubs look to turn things around and return to winning ways this afternoon at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt.

The Centennials got a goal from Tyler Martin on Friday in Penticton, after Martin missed three games prior with an injury. Injuries have been slowly healing up for the Cents, with Russell Sanderson, Rhett Willcox and Zach Hartley still on the mend.

With a win, the Cents would build valuable momentum, and hopefully confidence. A victory won't come without hard work and a consistent, honest effort. Coach Pierce has pushed lately that the club needs to perform consistently from game to game, rather from period to period.

Puckdrop is 2:00 PM today, as Sunday afternoon games get an early start, while the October 20th home game will start at 4:00 PM - the only off-timed Sunday game this season.

Details on the Q101 broadcast can be found below!

 Cowichan Valley Capitals (4-3-0-1) 9 pts, 2nd Island

Goaltender Robin Gusse has started all but one game for the Caps this season, which has now reached six games in a row. Gusse attended Montreal Canadiens Training Camp as a member of the QMJHL's Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in 2011. We may get a taste of backup netminder Francis Marotte tonight, as the 18 year old Quebec product hasn't played since game two of the BCHL Showcase.

Bob Beatty has a knack for teams that don't give up. Teams that go hard in to the offensive zone and aren't afraid of the dirty areas. You should expect that today from that club, although fatigue may begin to play a factor. I'm excited to chat with Bob for the first time since early February when he was with the La Ronge Ice Wolves in the SJHL.

Mason Malkowich has been in on both of the goals during this road trip for the Capitals, who got off to a late start on Friday in Trail, and didn't arrive in Penticton until early yesterday morning. It's been a tiring trip for the Caps, who managed just 18 shots in Penticton. They'll have put up 1,500 kilometres on the bus by the time they get home late tonight, and with that much bus time it's hard to believe their legs are feeling fresh and ready to go.

 Merritt Centennials (3-5-0-0) 6 pts, 6th Interior

Fresh off signing up for University of Connecticut Division 1 Hockey, Centennial forward Jeff Wight will have a few eyes on himself, as he is also the Cents leading scorer currently this season. Wight's decision as to when he begins his University education will come prior to the end of the 2013/14 season. For now, he's committed to this Centennial team and that's what it will take from everyone in the dressing room if they want a win tonight.

It wouldn't be fair to say this team is fragile right now, but it would be fair to say they are nearing a point in which changes could be made. Luke Pierce hasn't ruled out not making any changes, though, as he has said several times he is happy with the group and just wants them to play the way he knows they can.

If Merritt wants to have success tonight, they will need to continue getting the puck deep in to the offensive zone and quickly. Against Penticton, pucks seemed harder to retrieve on dumps so hopefully tonight the forwards have their legs under them and are able to win more puck battles. That goes for the defensive zone as well, the team that leaves the boards with the puck more often than not is more than not victorious.

The Norgaard Ready Mix Pregame Show starts up at 1:30, after I log off from the Q101 airwaves a little early to run over to the rink. We'll chat with Bob Beatty and Luke Pierce during Kal-Tire Between the Benches, before we check on former-Centennial Steven Munn as a part of Yesterday's Stars.

We'll also be joined by the scholarship-man Jeff Wight in the intermission, while Caps play-by-play voice Dustin Forbes may just slide on over to the Q101 Press Box as well. Forbes was with La Ronge last season as well with Beatty, and I was fortunate enough to have build a friendship with him that has carried over to the BCHL.

Tune in online on Q101.ca or BCHL.ca! Puckdrop is 2:00 PM!

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