Friday, October 4, 2013

Merritt vs Victoria Game Preview (Game 10):

Better late than never, they always say! Puck drop is under 3 hours away as the Merritt Centennials prepare to host the Victoria Grizzlies, who are looking for their first win in three games during their first trip to the Interior.

Merritt has improved to 4-5-0-0 on the season thanks to a 4-3 thriller of a win on Sunday afternoon in Merritt, and they hope to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Grizzlies are coming off a 4-2 loss to Troy Mick's Salmon Arm Silverbacks, and they sit at 3-4-1-0 on the BCHL campaign. The Fitzgerald triplets continue to give their team a shot night after night, although the club has been without Leo since the 4th game of the season.

Details on the Q101 broadcast can be found below!

Victoria Grizzlies (3-4-1-0) 7 pts, 4th Island

Bill Bestwick is now at the healm of a team he once faced many times per season, after spending more than 10 years consecutively leading the Nanaimo Clippers. He has brought the Fitzgerald triplets on board to try and cap off their BCHL careers with a title, but the Grizzlies are still looking to fine tune some things before they look too far ahead.

In goal, there is plenty of strength with an NCAA-commit as the backup to former Penticton Vee Nic Renyard, who has posted a .919 Save % and 2.44 GAA through 6 starts. Offensively, they seem to have all sides covered but much like Merritt, there are a chunk of players still looking to hit the back of the net for the first time.

Special teams haven't been an exact blemish, but they have room to improve. Victoria's PK has been good at times, although better when playing away from the Bear Mountain Arena; which they are tonight. The Grizz are 28-for-34 on the penalty kill, while their powerplay has also been better away from home. With 6 man advantage goals on the year, 5 have come on the road, which equals out to a whole 5% better than their home ice numbers.

 Merritt Centennials (4-5-0-0) 8 pts, 6th Interior

The question continues to be the same for Luke Pierce's club, will the team play a consistent game tonight and keep the pedal to the metal for a full 60 minutes? There hasn't been many moments this season when you shake your head at this team, just moments where you wonder if the team can play more mistake free shift-to-shift.

There were plenty of bright spots against Cowichan, although at times the Capitals picked up their game and gave the Centennials a hand full of trouble. The big line of Sebastien Pare, Scott Patterson and Jeff Wight came to play on Sunday and you should expect to see this line continue to improve if they can stick together as a unit. 

Returning for the Centennials tonight is Zach Hartley, who will team up with Adam Tracey and Rhett Willcox to form a line that, in my mind, could be one of the best all-rookie lines in the league(keep in mind I haven't seen them play yet!). With the gain of Hartley means the loss of the Daniel Nachbaur, as he is undergoing some treatment following his arm injury a few weeks back. Also out is Tyler Martin, who will allow Wayland Williams to pair up with Dane Birks on the blue line.

If there is one area of play the coaching staff doesn't need to have much concern surrounding, it's the powerplay and penalty kill. The Cents are 2nd in the BCHL with a man-up, as they've converted on 6 of 21 opportunities on home ice. Penalty killing could of course improve, but it has looked sharp, killing off 38 of 44 total penalties this season.

As always, your Norgaard Ready Mix pregame show begins a half hour before puck drop, as we hop on the air at 7:00! Tune in on and, or 101.1 on your radio dial in the Nicola Valley.

The Centennials are in Trail tomorrow, for a 7:30 start against the Smoke Eaters. Like tonight, the pregame show gets going at 7:00 PM.

Catch you on the airwaves!

1 comment:

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