OK, here I go again with another apology for a lack of update! I don't want to give a million excuses, but let's just say between internet connections that make dial-up look like DSL and a bout with an illness that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, I haven't had the opportunity to post here as much as I'd like.
CENTS START SEASON 0-4-0-0
As for the Cents, there's a fair bit to chat about, but the one thing EVERYONE asks me about is the goaltending situation. I'm not going to throw Jared Andersen under the bus, but being pulled in two of three games he's started this season (both of which he allowed five goals or more on 20 shots or less) is causing people to ask questions. Who knows what Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce thinks, but as our play-by-play announcer Alex Grebenyuk put it on our last broadcast (an 8-4 loss to Salmon Arm last night), I'd be surprised if Tyler Steel didn't get the start on Tuesday in Vernon.
It's also no secret that the Cents veteran players NEED to be more consistent. Four games into the season with Jeff Jones, Dustin Johnson, Alexander MacMillan, Silvan Harper and David Sabey all combining for just 11 points is definitely less than I think most expected, even the players themselves.
That being said, the Cents overall, are in a situation where they COULD be sitting at 2-2-0-0 instead of 0-4-0-0.
Last Saturday's game in Trail came right down to the wire and if not for some heroics by Kiefer Smiley could have resulted in a Merritt win based on how the Cents played. It was a MUCH better effort than the 8-2 loss the night before. After hearing from Luke on our post-game show, it didn't sound like the performance could have been much worse than the season opener.
Fast forward to this past Friday's home opener against Salmon Arm and a game that could have gone either way. The Cents outshot the Silverbacks, but not many of their shots were good, quality scoring chances as despite the shot totals, Kris Moore didn't have too difficult a night in goal for Salmon Arm. The goal that beat him, by Jakob Reichert, is likely the type of goals the Cents are going to need more of. Not pretty, but incredibly effective to build momentum. The Cents have a ton of skill too and need to remember that ugly goals look exactly the same on the scoresheet. We'll see what happens Tuesday in Vernon.
JONES COMMITS TO RMU
It took all season for the Cents to get their first commitment for 2009-10 and one week into the 2010-11 season, we've got the first of what should be a number for this year.
Jeff Jones will only end up playing two seasons in a Centennials sweater as after this year, he's off to play at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. Jones finished second in scoring on the Cents last season despite limited ice time in the first portion of the year and is expected to have a monster 2010-11 season. Here's the release from the Cents website:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Merritt, BC – September 16, 2010
The Merritt Centennials are pleased to announce the commitment of 18-year-old forward Jeff Jones to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for September 2011.
“We are extremely happy for Jeff in securing his NCAA future as he's been a tremendous player for us and an exceptional character individual,” said Cents coach and GM Luke Pierce. “He is a player who was receiving a lot of interest from several schools in the NCAA, but at the end of the day he felt that the fit was right at RMU.”
Pierce continued, “Jeff is an intelligent young man who decided to choose Robert Morris based on the potential to play a significant role for them in the immediate future. Getting Jeff committed this early in the season is a big step for our program and we thank him for his outstanding efforts thus far.”
WONG SIGNS WITH HARTFORD WOLF PACK
2006 BCHL Interior Conference MVP Brandon Wong has signed his first pro contract with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League. Way to go Wonger! Here's the release from the Wolf Pack:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hartford, CT - September 13, 2010
Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack has signed forward Brandon Wong, who is coming off of an outstanding four-year career at Quinnipiac University, to an American Hockey League contract.
Wong, a 5-10, 185-pound native of Victoria, B.C., led the 2009-10 Quinnipiac squad in points and goals, and finished second on the team in assists, with totals of 19 goals and 22 assists for 41 points in 40 games. His point total of 41 was good for a tie for fifth in the ECAC. Following the completion of his college career, Wong, 23, joined the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins on an Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement and registered one assist and four shots on goal in three games.
Wong left Quinnipiac having amassed the second-most goals (68) and fifth-most points (143) in the school’s Division I history, in a total of 147 career games-played. That included a freshman year in 2006-07 in which Wong set a school single-season Division I freshman goals record, with 27 in 40 games. That total led the ECAC by a margin of eight goals, and Wong’s freshman-year point total of 44 was good for a tie for the league lead in that category, earning him ECAC co-Rookie of the Year honors.
There's been a ton of movement recently among former BCHL players and I'm sure there are some that I've missed, but here's a summary of the last week:
F Evan Barlow (Salmon Arm, 2003-05) has had a pretty tumultuous off-season. He signed a try-out with HIFK (SM-liiga Finland) at the end of July before being released. Barlow then signed a try-out with Rogle BK (Hockey Allsvenskan Sweden 2) and didn't receive a contract offer after that. Now he's signed with Valarenga Ishockey (GET-ligaen Norway), which means the 24-year-old now has a place to play for the season. . . .
D Scott Ford (Merritt, 1997-00) received a try out with Nashville Predators (NHL). Ford spent last season with Milwaukee (AHL), notching a goal and seven assists in 61 games. . . .
F Mike Wakita (Powell River, 2001-06), who signed with Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) last month, has earned a try out with Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) this month. Wakita wrapped up his college career with Union (NCAA Div. I) last season with a goal and two assists in 37 games. . . .
F Tyler Burton (Chilliwack, 2003-04) signed a one year contract with Rio Grande Killer Bees (CHL). Burton, who signed with Starbulls Rosenheim (Oberliga Germany 2) in August, was released from that team two weeks later due to injury. Burton also has a try out with Houston Aeros (AHL) and if he's unable to make the team, he'll play with Rio Grande. . . .
D Travis Gawryletz (Trail, 2002-04) is attending camp with Colorado Avalanche (NHL). Gawryletz split last season between Elmira Jackals (ECHL) and Lake Erie Monsters (AHL). He had two goals and ten assists in 51 games in the American League and two goals and four assists in 16 games in the East Coast League. Gawryletz has a contract for 2010-11 with Lake Erie. . . .
D Travis Ramsey (Salmon Arm, 2003-04) is on the training camp roster of Vancouver Canucks (NHL). He's already signed a contract for 2010-11 with Manitoba Moose (AHL) after scoring two goals and 14 assists in 80 games with them last season. . . .
F Blair Riley (Merritt/Nanaimo, 2002-06) is in training camp with Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) on a try out basis. Riley had 18 goals and 20 assists in 40 games with Ferris State (NCAA) and no points in three games with Springfield Falcons (AHL) last season. . . .
F Brendan Morrison (Penticton, 1992-93) signed a try out contract with Vancouver Canucks (NHL). Morrison had 12 goals and 30 assists in 74 games with Washington Capitals (NHL). . . .