Last Games Played:
Friday, February 25 Game One: Salmon Arm beat Merritt 7-2
Saturday, February 26 Game Two: Salmon Arm beat Merritt 4-3
Tomorrow night is Game Three of the first round of the BCHL Playoffs between the Merritt Centennials and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Gorillas lead the best of seven series 2-0. The Centennials are on a two game losing streak while the Silverbacks are on a two game winning streak. Tomorrow night's game is live on Q101 in Merritt with Alex Grebenyuk and Paul McLellan. Our pre-game show will be on the air at 6:30 with the opening faceoff is at 7 o'clock.
Let's take a look at the Merritt Centennials: (0-2)
Home record: 0-0
Road record: 0-2
The flu has ravaged the Centennials line-up to this point with no less than five players suffering from it. That being said, the guys came out with a huge effort on Saturday despite the 4-3 loss. The Centennials outplayed Salmon Arm for the majority of the game and their off-ice personnel in the media booth said that they were lucky to get the win. Merritt had a TON of chances to put the game out of reach, but didn't receive much puck luck and although Backs netminder Kris Moore struggled hanging onto the puck, he made the big saves when he had to especially during a 6-on-4 in the last minute of play.
Tonight is the Cents opportunity to use home ice advantage for exactly what it should be - an advantage. The Cents have been tough at home all year long and a big crowd tonight at Memorial Arena will go a long way towards the team being successful. It's not a fun place to play when it's packed, the fans are right on top of the players and can be very intimidating for the opposition and a delight for the home team. They had less than 900 fans during the first two games in Salmon Arm, I know the fans here in Merritt can beat that, on a Monday no less!
As a follower of other junior hockey blogs, I checked out Hammer's Bulldog blog to see what he has to say about their game tonight against Langley as the Dogs are in the same situation as the Cents. I'm going to take what Hammer said and change the appropriate things to be relevant to the Centennials.
That's what it's about tonight.
W - I - N
It's a huge Game 3 as the Backs hold a 2-0 series lead with action shifting from the Sunwave Centre to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. It's either a 2-1 series or a 3-0 series after tonight. That's how huge this pivotal Game 3 is.
I'm somewhat surprised in the negative vibe I've felt from the FEW people I have talked to since we got back to the Valley Saturday. Yes, the Cents are down 2-0. Yes, they were tough losses. All the Silverbacks did was hold serve on home ice. Now the Cents have to do the same. The fact that the Cents played the Chiefs so tough (although not as tough in Game 1 as Game 2) was certainly encouraging. I had no doubts that the guys could win this series, and after seeing Games 1 (especially in the third period) and 2 my thoughts were confirmed. It's all about finding a way to win tonight. Worry about tomorrow - tomorrow.
Its up to you now fans - pack the rink and bring the noise - make home ice just that HOME ICE and give the guys an advantage!
Thanks for the inspiration Hammer, couldn't have said it better myself!
Cents leading scorers in the series:
Jeff Jones (0-3-3)
Regan Soquila (2-0-2)
Max Vallis (1-0-1)
Billy Marshall (1-0-1)
Kameran Crawford (1-0-1)
Silvan Harper (0-1-1)
Evan Stack (0-1-1)
Reece Willcox (0-1-1)
Sean Maktaak (0-1-1)
Blaine Bokenfohr (0-1-1)
Lino Chimienti (0-2, 5.93 GAA)
Tyler Steel (0-0, 4.37 GAA)
Let's have a look at the Salmon Arm Silverbacks: (2-0)
Home record: 2-0
Road record: 0-0
Silverbacks leading scorers in the series:
Mike Hammond (3-1-4)
Charlie Vasaturo (2-0-2)
Paul DeJersey (1-1-2)
Brett Knowles (1-3-4)
Devin Muller (0-3-3)
Dustin Cave (1-0-1)
Devin Gannon (2-0-2)
Bryce Gervais (0-4-4)
Brad Reid (0-1-1)
Jerryd Ten Vaanholt (1-1-2)
Morgan Zulinick (0-1-1)
Clinton Atkinson (0-1-1)
Brandon Mistal (0-1-1)
Kris Moore (2-0, 2.50 GAA)
Let's take a look back at Saturday night's Game Two:
Game Two: Saturday, February 26 @ Salmon Arm: Silverbacks win 4-3 over Merritt
Jarryd Ten Vaanholt tipped a Bryce Gervais shot over the glove hand of Lino Chimienti with 2:26 left in regulation to lift the Salmon Arm Silverbacks to a 4-3 win over the Merritt Centennials in Game Two of the BC Hockey League Interior Conference Quarterfinal series.
Brett Knowles, Mike Hammond and Devin Gannon also scored for Salmon Arm (2-0).
Regan Soquila, with two, and Kameran Crawford scored for the Centennials (0-2). Jeff Jones had two assists for Merritt while Silvan Harper, Evan Stack and Reece Willcox each had a single helper.
The Cents outshot the Silverbacks 45-32 with Merritt's Chimienti making 28 saves in a losing effort. Kris Moore stopped 42 shots for Salmon Arm.
The Backs went 2-for-3 on the power play, while the Centennials converted once on their seven man advantages.
Merritt hosts Games Three and Four on Monday and Tuesday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Game time is 7 pm both days and reserved seating tickets are available starting at 1:30 pm at the Memorial Arena Box Office.
Game One: Friday, February 25 @ Salmon Arm: Silverbacks win 7-2 over Merritt
Mike Hammond had a pair of goals and an assist as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks beat the Merritt Centennials in Game One of their BC Hockey League Interior Conference Quarterfinal series Friday night.
Charlie Vasaturo added two goals, Brett Knowles had two assists, and Paul DeJersey had a goal and an assist for Salmon Arm (1-0). Dustin Cave and Devin Gannon also posted goals in the win.
Billy Marshall and Max Vallis tallied for Merritt (0-1) while Jeff Jones, Blaine Bokenfohr and Sean Maktaak each had assists in the loss.
Kris Moore made 24 saves for the Silverbacks to earn the win. Lino Chimienti started in net for the Centennials and stopped 8 of 13 shots in 32:13 of work. His replacement, Tyler Steel, turned aside 16 of 18 shots.
The Cents scored on one of their four power play chances, while Salmon Arm went 2-for-3 with the man advantage.
Game Two of the series is Saturday night at the Sunwave Centre before returning to Merritt for Games Three and Four this coming Monday and Tuesday.