Friday, October 11, 2013

Cents Trim Sprucies For Fourth Win In A Row:

With a chance to keep momentum rolling, the Merritt Centennials brought their A-game to their own barn against the Prince George Spruce Kings on Thursday night, scoring a pair in the first on their way to a 4-1 victory. With that win, Merritt improves to 7-5-0-0 with four straight wins now under their belts. The Spruce Kings, on the other hand, have dropped a pair going in to Penticton on Friday and they sit at 6-5-0-1.

Adam Tracey scored his first BCHL goal to open the scoring, while Dane Birks also scores his first of the season. Sebastien Pare had a pair for the Cents while Jeff Wight drew in with two helpers. Connor LaCouvee made 27 of 28 stops in net, and was tested at times and responded to the task.

Scoring for Prince George was Chad Staley, on a late 2nd period rush, while goaltender Alex Murray was tough to beat, making 34 of 38 saves.

Much like the Centennials, the Spruce Kings have a busy weekend ahead with a game in Penticton and then West Kelowna on Saturday. The Cents meet West Kelowna tonight and Coquitlam tomorrow back on home ice.

Adam Tracey got the nights first goal 14:36 in when he walked in to the zone, split the PG defense, and managed to fight off a stick check to get the shot on net, which beat goaltender Murray.
Sebastien Pare then made it 2-0 less than four minutes later when he deflected home a Jeff Wight shot, after Wight recieved a sharp pass from Shane Poulsen. Merritt controlled the majority of the opening period although Dave Dupas' Sprucies hung around and had a few chances. Shots in the opening period were close, though, at 9-8 Merritt.

Merritt's offense would start off the 2nd on a 5-minute powerplay, as Colin Chmelka was ejected for kneeing after he wiped out Dylan Bowen behind the net. Bowen left the game and did not return. Dane Birks was the second Cent to score his 1st of the season, as he blasted home a slap shot top corner, putting the Cents up 3-0 at 2:11. Shots cam aplenty for the Centennials, who ended up with 18 on the period. Prince George would get themselves some life late in the 2nd, as Chad Staley beat LaCouvee with a bullet off a creative pass from Justin Rai. Karan Toor also picked up an assist. PG picked up 10 shots in the period, with total shots counting at 27-18.

Sebastien Pare scored his 2nd of the night late in the final period, on a skill-first play that had him flying to the net while playing tic-tac-toe with Payton Schaefer, who perfectly placed the final pass on the stick of Pare at 14:40. Prince George got their share of opportunities, but most pucks bounced over their sticks or to the side of the net, where they created the most opportunities; although LaCouvee seemed to have cat-like reflexes to scoop up all the pucks. Merritt outshot Prince George 38-28 overall, with the final score counting as 4-1.

The game was as entertaining as it had hoped, and you have to commend the Cents for staying out of the rough stuff after the whistle. There were a few occasions where things could have turned sour but for the most part, it was a well disciplined game for Luke Pierce's club. Prince George nearly made it a 3-2 game in the 3rd, but their goal was disallowed as the net was off its' pegs by nearly a foot at the time the puck crossed the line. 

Hard work. If that continues to happen, then more success could be imminent. The Cents are on the road on Friday to face the West Kelowna Warriors for the first time since back-to-back home openers in early September. The Warriors are off to a hot start, with a record of 6-2-0-1 and are atop the Division, but the Cents are just 3 points back at 7-5-0-0.

The preview will be up here during the bus ride, there's just too much news today! Three more posts coming before the end of the day!

6:30 pregame show tonight on Q101 and, with puck drop set for 7:00 PM! Listen online also at!

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