Saturday, October 5, 2013

Centennials Slip By Grizzlies Thanks To Goal With 0.8 Seconds Left:

Check back late-morning on Saturday for highlights and period recaps.
Following a 4-3 win on Sunday over Cowichan Valley, the Merritt Centennials were bound and determined to pick up their second straight win on Friday night when the Victoria Grizzlies were in town.

Until this point, the Cents had failed to achieve consecutive wins, but thanks to James Neil's goal with 0.8 seconds left in regulation, the team will be heading to Trail coming off back-to-back 4-3 wins, and with confidence beginning to swing in their direction.

Also capitalizing for Merritt was Diego Cuglietta, whose first star performance also included two assists, and Sebastien Pare, who couldn't have gone any more top corner to put his team up by a pair early. Captain Payton Schaefer also scored, to tie the game late in the third on a goal you would hope a captain would score.

Goaltender Connor LaCouvee stopped 21 of 24, with a few key saves that could have allowed Victoria to take an earlier lead and perhaps a more widespread lead.

Replying for Victoria was Gerry Fitzgerald, who scored with a hard wrister while on a 2 on 1 with his brother Myles. Jesse Schwartz had the other two goals, with a game that included versatility in both ends of the rink.

Nic Renyard stopped 27 of 31 Centennial shots that came his way, 22 of which in the final two periods.

Merritt's powerplay went 1-for-4, while the Grizzlies capitalized on 1-of-2 powerplay opportunities.

With the win, the Cents are now 4th in the Interior Division with a record of 5-5-0-0 which is good for 10 points, while the Grizzlies record drops to 4-4-1-0, for 9 points on the season.

The Centennials visit the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night with puck drop set for 7:30 PM, while the Q101 broadcast begins at 7:00 PM.

Game Notes:
-Zach Hartley returned to the lineup for the first time since the Showcase and looked to settle in to his game comfortabley as the game went on.
-Sam Johnson and Rhett Willcox both got in to fights during the 2nd period, providing sparks for the Centennials.
-Referee Brandon Liefke called a great game, something we see consistently from him.
-The Cents desire to win really showed in the late stages of the game; you have to give the guys credit for climbing back in front.
-0.8 seconds left, that's worth a note right there.

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