Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cents Fall 7-2 to Burnaby:

Here's a recap of the game from the Cents website:

Merritt, BC - September 24, 2009

Canton, Michigan product Jon Puskar scored his fourth and fifth goal in four games and Matt Ius added two goals as the Burnaby Express posted a 7-2 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Wednesday night.

Former Centennial Dylan Herold, along with Garrick Perry and Zac Ashdown, also each had a goal and an assist to help the Express remain undefeated in the regular season with a 3-0-0-1 record.

After the Cents opened the scoring on a Dustin Johnson goal at 10:22 of the first period, Burnaby popped four goals in the second period on Merritt goaltender Spencer Bacon, who was making his first career BCHL start.

Bacon was pulled to start the third period as Norbert Biszczak took over in his first action since opening night on September 11. Biszczak allowed three goals on 13 shots before Johnson rounded out the scoring with his second of the game at the 12:59 mark of the third period. Former Cents goaltender Harrison May made 36 saves for Burnaby in earning second star honours.

Merritt wound up the game 1-for-6 on the power play while the Express finished 1-for-2. Shots on goal were 40-38 in favour of Burnaby.

Thomas Hardy, who was acquired by the Centennials during the off-season from the Express, has quit the team and there's no word whether or not he'll return to Merritt. Colton Sobchak sat out the game for the Cents as he recovers from a shoulder injury while goaltender Cole Holowenko was a healthy scratch. Gary Rai remains out of the lineup due to personal reasons.

The Centennials play their first road game Friday night as they head to Powell River to take on the Kings. They'll have a return match-up with Burnaby Saturday night at the Bill Copeland Arena. Both road games will be available in Merritt on Q101-FM.

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I had the chance to talk to Cents coach Dylan Forsythe after the game:

Cents Head Coach/Assistant GM Dylan Forsythe

Click here to download

All audio property of Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.
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As mentioned during the game recap, forward Thomas Hardy has left the Centennials and may not be back. I've heard a couple of different reasons for Hardy, who was traded from Burnaby to Merritt during the summer in exchange for RJay Berra, deciding to leave the team. Neither have been confirmed by the Cents, but I've heard that Hardy wanted to go back to school on the Lower Mainland or he was unhappy with his icetime and role on the team. Regardless, I feel Hardy can be an impact player in the BCHL and hope that either he comes back to Merritt to continue his career or if he doesn't want to play here, that the Centennials would be able to get something in return via trade.
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I am not a fan at all of the two fight rule in some instances. I understand why it's in place, because you can't have one player getting into a multiple fight situation, but last night was an example of where it doesn't work. Jake Baker was instigated into a fight by Rich Manley in the first period and then laid out Garrick Perry with a clean hit in the second period, only to be jumped by Zac Ashdown, who thought the hit was questionable. The end result, Baker gets kicked out of the game for defending himself against Ashdown and the Cents lose one of their top blueliners. Now if goading Baker into fighting was the Express' game plan, then full credit to them because it worked. I'm just wondering if maybe the two fight rule could be a referee's discretion...
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The Centennials did make a trade prior to last night's game as the junior A rights to defenceman Matt Cumming were dealt to the AJHL's Grand Prairie Storm. Merritt receives future considerations in the deal, but there's been no word yet whether the futures are a player or cash. I hope to have more information on the trade later today. Cumming, who's played the last two seasons in Prince George with the WHL's Cougars, was a late cut by the Kamloops Blazers this season.
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I apologize for the video feed cutting out in the third period last night. I noticed it at the end of the game and it was simply a cable that just came unplugged. I'll be sure to tape the cables together in time for Tuesday's game against Penticton.

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