Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Centennials Return Home From Island To Face Vipers Tuesday:

It will feel all too nice for the Merritt Centennials when they step foot on the ice of the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on Tuesday night following a four game road stand, in which the team earned just one win.

The Centennials head in to the game with a record of 20-17-3-1, and are looking to match Salmon Arm's 46 points in the Interior Division standings. The 'Backs and Cents will meet back-to-back in the second to last weekend of the regular season.

The Centennials opponent; for just the second time in Merritt this season, is the Vernon Vipers. Jason Williamsons' squad is looking to gain ground on Penticton, and they currently trail by 8 points with a 22-12-3-4 record, good for 51 points.

While Vernon is 2-2 in 2014, the Centennials are now 1-3-1 since the Christmas break but the time could not seem more kind to break out of a mini-slump. One of the biggest stories of the night is #24 Jason Bird - who will face his former team for the first time. On the other side, an arguably bigger return is #24 Dylan Chanter, who returns to Merritt to play for the first time since the Playoffs in 2013.

Chanter and Bird have both been held pointless in their new uniforms, although Bird has played 4 games, 2 more than Chanter.

While Jarrod Schamerhorn is not expected to appear in a Cents jersey for at least a few more days, just Brett Mulcahy will be an unfamiliar face when these teams' square it up at 7:00 PM. Mulcahy was acquired by the Vipers just prior to the deadline.

Nine BCHL teams have played just a single game on home ice since Christmas, the Centennials are one of them. Vernon has played just a single game away form home, and much like the Cents home game it was the first game back since Christmas.

Jeff Wight has been listed at 183rd overall on the NHL Central Scouting Mid-Season Rankings, while Vernon Vipers forward Mason Blacklock was ranked 158th, and Demico Hannoun 185th.

In the previous meetings between Vernon and Merritt, the Centennials have been able to sneak away with a pair of wins, however those wins came in the first pair of games of the four games played so far this season. In the most recent game, Vernon came away with a 4-0 win while the game prior resulted in a tie.

The Q101 Pregame Show on Tuesday begins at 7:30 on Q101.ca and BCHL.ca with Dustin Scafe.

Next up for the Centennials will be the Penticton Vees on Friday evening in Merritt.

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