This was written by Ian Webster in Tuesday's Merritt Herald:
The Merritt Centennials have released their schedule of games for the 2014-15 BCHL regular season.
The Cents’ 58-game schedule features 29 home games and 29 away games. The first two games (listed as one home and one away) take place at the third-annual Showcase in Chilliwack.
Merritt’s home game at the Showcase is against Cowichan Valley at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 20. Their away game is at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 21 versus the host Chiefs.
The Centennials’ official home opener is on Saturday, September 27 when they entertain the always-strong Penticton Vees. The unveiling of the Cents’ new centre-ice score clock is also expected to take place that night.
Merritt plays four of its five Interior Division rivals (Vernon, Salmon Arm, Trail and West Kelowna) seven times and the Vees eight times. They play all other BCHL teams in the Coastal and Island Divisions twice — once at home and once away.
Of the 28 Cents’ games actually played at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, 11 are on Saturday, seven on Friday, five on Wednesday, four on Sunday afternoon and one on Tuesday.
In terms of Merritt’s 29 away games, 14 are on Friday, seven on Saturday, four on Wednesday, three on Sunday and one on Tuesday.
The Centennials’ longest home stands are from Saturday, December 13 to Friday, January 2 (five games) and from Saturday, January 10 to Sunday, January 18 (four games).
The Cents have two four-game road trips: from Friday, December 5 to Friday, December 12 and from lucky Friday, February 13 to Friday, February 20.
Merritt’s busiest months are November and January with 12 games each, followed by October and February (11 apiece), December (8) and September (4). November sees the most away games for the Cents (7) and January
the most home games (7).
There are several notable Cents’ home games that should be circled on the calendar:
Saturday, September 27 vs. Penticton – The rivalry between these two teams has intensified year after year. The Vees knocked the Cents out of the playoffs last season in four straight.
Friday, October 17 vs. West Kelowna – The Cents have been snake bit by their cross-Connector adversaries for the last two seasons.
Saturday, October 25 vs. Powell River – New Cents’ goalie Jonah Imoo (see this Thursday’s Herald for full story) will want a piece of his former team big time.
Wednesday, Dec. 31 vs. Coquitlam – It’s New Year’s Eve, and the Cents would like nothing better than to ring in 2015 with a win over the defending BCHL champions.
Sunday, Jan. 18 vs. Nanaimo – Cents’ bench boss Luke Pierce loves going head-to-head with his former coach — the fiery Mike Vandekamp — who has history in Merritt.
Saturday, Feb. 28 vs. Trail – What better way to celebrate Fan Appreciation Night and the beginning of the post-season with a thumping of the Smokies.