As much as the results look lacklustre, some players played very hard this weekend and played with great intensity and ethic, but unfortunately the results just didn't follow in terms of goals for.
Offensive consistency has been plaguing the Centennials, who in the past 10 games have scored 25 goals, but 18 of those goals came in just 4 of those games. In 2014, Merritt has buried 5 times in 3 games, despite putting up 97 shots on goal. That's a .948 Save % for opposing goaltenders, which is very different from the .897 Save % they gave goalies in four of the final five games of 2013.
With the trade deadline looming, I wouldn't go saying that Luke Pierce and Joe Martin will be doing too much shopping, but I would assume that much like every other BCHL team, they are listening to offers that will make this hockey club better down the stretch.
Jason Bird provided a nice spark to the powerplay on the weekend, unleashing his shot a couple of times on Sunday while appearing much more comfortable in a Centennials uniform. Bird was acquired last week from the Vernon Vipers in exchange for the Rights to Dylan Chanter.
As promised, here's a chance to get to know the newest Cent!
Here's the weekend game recaps from MerrittCentennials.com!
By the way, while doing some browsing around... I stumbled upon my first ever BCHL game blog post over at Ron Gallo's Spruce Kings blog! Check 'er out!
Adam Tracey scored his 5th of the season to tie the game 6:29 in to the third period on Friday night for the Merritt Centennials, and a 36-save performance from Devin Kero helped seal a point in a 1-1 tie with the Penticton Vees at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
With the single point, the Centennials are 19-14-3-1 to start 2014 and sit just a pair of points back of the Salmon Arm SilverBacks heading in to Saturday's clash in the Shuswap.
Tracey's goal saw him go end-to-end with a five hole shot that slipped by Vees netminder Hunter Miska, with the pass coming from Malik Kaila, who earned an asist along with goaltender Devin Kero.
Kero, along with Miska, were the heroes of the night, combining for 72 saves between the two. Kero and Miska finished as 1st and 2nd Stars, respectively, while Brett Beauvais was the 3rd Star.
Penticton's lone goal came late in the opening period, as Beauvais scored his 10th of the season on a high speed forecheck that involved assists from Jack Ramsey and Riley Alferd.
Both teams failed to convert on multiple powerplay chances, while the Centennials Jeff Wight was stopped on a double overtime penalty shot off a 3-on-3 infranction from Patrick Sexton.
Adam Tracey opened the scoring with his 6th point in as many games for the Merritt Centennials, but the Salmon Arm SilverBacks reeled off four consecutive goals before the third to hang on to a 4-2 win on Saturday night.
Scott Patterson also added a goal for the Centennials, while Devin Kero made 27 saves in the loss.
Scoring for Salmon Arm was Michael Roberts, Jeff Kennedy, Colton Thibault and Alex Gillies. In goal, Angus Redmond made 29 saves for the win, after being yanked prior to the Christmas break in a Centennials 5-2 win.
Salmon Arm's powerplay failed to convert on three chances, while the Merritt powerplay was dangerous, putting up a ratio of 2-for-3.
Cody DePourq opened the scoring just :13 seconds in to the first period as the Penticton Vees went on to post a 6-2 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Sunday afternoon at SOEC in Penticton, knocking the Cents to 19-16-3-1 on the season.
Daniel Nachbaur scored his 4th of the season in the second period while Shane Poulsen picked up his 7th to give Merritt life midway through the third.
In the loss, Nathan Alalouf performed very well, making a total of 21 saves in his Centennials debut.
Payton Schaefer, Jake Clifford and Bennett Huber earned assists during the game.
Penticton's goal scorers were DePourq, Jack Ramsey, Ben Dalpe, Brad McClure(2) and Steen Cooper.
Olivier Mantha made 24 of 26 saves for the Vees, who improved to 25-9-2-3, taking a 6 point lead atop the Interior Division standings.
Both teams had five powerplays in the game, with the Vees getting the lone powerplay goal at the start of the second period.
For the Centennials, the next game will be during the first Island trip of the season, with the Nanaimo Clippers welcoming the Cents to Frank Crane Arena on Friday night at 7:00 PM.
Merritt will then visit Victoria on Saturday, before returning home to host the Vernon Vipers on January 14th.
The BCHL Trade Deadline is Friday, January 10th.