Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Smoke Eaters Can't Beat Kero In Cents 5-0 Win:

Devin Kero earned his first BCHL shut out on Tuesday night as Scott Patterson picked up the hat-trick, in a 5-0 Merritt Centennials win over the hometown Trail Smoke Eaters.

Gavin Gould also made his presence in the game known, scoring his first BCHL goal. Sebastien Pare was an offensive weapon as well, picking up a helper on Patterson's 2nd goal and Jeff Wight's 2nd period marker.

Kero made 28 saves, while at the other end it was Adam Todd in the Smokies net, while he stopped 20 of 25 as the Smoke Eaters fell to 1-3-0-1 on the year while Merritt improved to 2-3-0-0.

On the man advantage, opportunities were limited for both clubs as Trail went 0-for-4 and Merritt 0-for-3. Malik Kaila was the penalty minute getter of the night along with Trail captain Adam Wheeldon; after the two dropped the mitts late in the 3rd period.

Merritt and Trail rematch on Friday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt at 7:30.

It was more than just a family affair between the Birks boys, it was also a return of sorts for Shane Poulsen to Trail, while Brendan Lamont faced his former team in the Centennials for the first time as well. The Cents lost Rhett Willcox on a blind side double-whammy hit that came just 30 seconds in to the opening frame. Willcox did play some more shifts but returned to the dressing room with a suspected concussion. Merritt also lost speedy centre Diego Cuglietta, who took a Smoke Eater stick to the nose in the opening frame, ending his night on a very bloody note. On a positive note, Scott Patterson opened the scoring when he picked up a puck in the right circle and send a wrist shot under the glove of Trail goaltender Adam Todd, hitting the back post for a 1-0 lead. That was all for the action in opening twenty, with Merritt outshooting Trail 12-7 to open the game.

In the second, the flood gates would open although shots would end up very close. At 8:22, a shot was sent from Poulsen at the line and there in front was Scott Patterson to tip home his 2nd of the night. Dylan Bowen also got a helper, but for Bowen, he had an assist last year with Salmon Arm meaning it wasn't his first BCHL point, but he does continue to seek his first BCHL goal. If fans thought Jeff Wight got a piece of the 2-0 goal, Wight made his mark count otherwise when he buried to make it 3-0. His goal came off a Dan Nachbaur shot from the bottom of the left wing circle, that deflected off Wight and in to the top corner. Sebastien Pare was a late add-on for an assist, and Pare wasn't done there as 3:31 later he would set up Scott Patterson, who dished off to Jake Clifford on the left wing before centering a backhand pass for Patterson to complete the hat trick. Trail edged Merritt on the shot cloud 9-8(20-16 Merritt after 2) but the Cents were comfortably in front 4-0.

During the post game show, Head Coach Luke Pierce said that playing with a lead was unfamiliar territory for the Cents, and that could have been evident during the third as the team worked the puck D-to-D inside of their own zone several times before trying to make the quick play to get the puck deep in the offensive zone. Trail outshot Merritt 12-7 in the period, but it was the Centennials whose ability to play with the lead that prevailed. Along with the help of a very hot and fast glove from Devin Kero, the Cents were able to hold off on any prolonged Smoke Eater forecheck, and Gavin Gould scored his first BCHL gino to really seal the deal just before the 9 minute mark of the period. Gould's goal went unassisted, as emotions would begin to bubble over following that goal. In the last half of the period, 13 infractions were issued compared to just 7 through the rest of the Hockey game.

In the end, the Cents left happy with a 5-0 shutout win over the Smoke Eaters, a team they won 5-of-7 against last season.

The Smoke Eaters visit the home of the Centennials on Friday night. Game time at Nicola Valley Memorial is 7:30, and the broadcast on Q101 begins at 7:00 sponsored by Norgaard Ready Mix.

The Cents will be on the road on Saturday night, when they travel to Vernon to face the Vipers, that game starts at 7:00 with the Q101 broadcast at 6:30.

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