Sunday, November 13, 2011

Five-On-Five, The Cents Are a Force to be Reckoned With:

This was in Thursday's Merritt Herald:

Five-on-five, the Cents are a force to be reckoned with

By Ian Webster - Merritt Herald
Published: November 10, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: November 10, 2011 1:49 PM

Even strength, the Merritt Centennials​ might just be one of the best teams in the BCHL right now.

The Cents are currently on a three-game win streak, following victories over Salmon Arm (twice) and Penticton in the past eight days. They also own a record of 8-1-0-1 in their last 10 games, the best in Canada’s top Junior A league.

To top things off, the Merritt Centennials were an honorable mention in this week’s Canadian Junior Hockey League nationwide Top-20 rankings, a distinction that has eluded a Cents’ team for close to a decade.

The one ‘fly in the ointment’ so to speak has been the (mis)play of Merritt’s special teams. With the man advantage or disadvantage, the Cents have been horrific. If the team can ever get its powerplay and penalty kill on track, it is almost scary to think how good this year’s squad could be.

The numbers simply don’t lie when it comes to odd-man situations. Thus far this season, the Cents have just 13 powerplay tallies in 75 opportunities for a mediocre 17.3% efficiency rating (fourth worst in the league).

Even more telling, the Centennials have given up 25 goals in 90 occasions when they were down one or more players for a league-worst 72.2% PK.

Turn the numbers around and you can see just how good this year’s Centennials are when playing their opposition even up. Of Merritt’s 56 goals scored in 18 games, 43 have been at even strength for a rating of 76.8% (second best in the league). Of the 62 total goals scored against them, Merritt has only allowed 37 while at even strength for an impressive stat of 59.7%, almost five percentage points better than any other team.

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