Saturday, January 25, 2014

Centennials Return Home To Host Vipers After Rough Loss In Coquitlam:

The Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers met under two weeks ago in Merritt, and the Centennials were able to pull momentum from a prior loss and turn it in to a victory against the Vipers, and on Saturday night they'll have to rebound from a loss once more in search of a win in the sixth of seven games between the teams.

Shane Poulsen scored the lone goal for the Cents on Friday night in Coquitlam, as the Express got a pair from Adam Rockwood. Fresh Michigan Tech-commit Devin Kero made 20 saves in the loss, as the Centennials record slipped to 22-18-3-1, keeping them a pair of points back of Salmon Arm.

Vernon has just one win in their past five, but have played four games since the game in Merritt two Tuesday's ago. On Friday night, the Penticton Vees brought their best to Vernon in a 6-1 shellacking of the Vipers, bringing their record to 23-15-3-5.

The Cents have a pair of home games remaining in January after this contest, and with a few parents making the trip to town from both sides I think we can expect an energetic crowd along with energetic players on the ice. The teams' close the regular season against one-another, so there are lots of situations that could play out in the standings between now and then.

Former Viper Jason Bird picked up an assist on Friday night, on a powerplay point shot that he had deflected in front by his defensive partner Shane Poulsen. Bird, along with his trade-counterpart Dylan Chanter, have both played 7 games on their new clubs, with Chanter being pointless and Bird has two assists.

With a Centennials win on Saturday, the Vipers would hold a four point lead on Merritt and Salmon Arm for the final playoff spot, as West Kelowna has taken over the two spot.

Jeff Wight had a strong showing in the last meeting, putting up a pair of goals and an assist, while Diego Cuglietta had a goal and an assist as Devin Kero made 21 of 22 saves.

For Vernon the last time out, depth players played the stronger role such as Logan Mick and Tyler Povelovskie but tonight I expect them to look to the top end guys for results. Ryan Renz got a goal the last game vs Merritt, while Austin Smith made 29 of 33 stops despite playing a very strong game for Vernon.

Game time Saturday is 7:30 at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, and the Q101 pregame show begins at 7:00.

Tune in online at Q101.ca and watch through FastHockey on BCHL.ca! I'll have the call on one side and Graham Turnbull has the call on 107.5 KISS FM for all you Vernon-folk!

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