Scoring for Merritt in the second period was Scott Patterson and Zach Hartley, both of which were smart hockey plays as Hartley now has 4 goals on the season, and Patterson leads the 10-9-1-0 Cents with 9. Devin Kero was tested several times by the 'Backs, facing 31 shots which included a first period penalty shot from Max Becker, which opened the scoring.
Salmon Arm got a pair of goals from Alex Jewell, matching his total from last season at 4, while singles came from Becker, Evan Anderson and Landon Smith; improving the Silverbacks to 10-6-1-1, a single point up on the Centennials with 22.
Merritt is in Chilliwack on Friday while Salmon Arm takes on the Vernon Vipers on Friday, as well.
After an offensive affair in the seasons' first meeting between the two teams, there was plenty of offence, something we didn't see during the first period at all as the teams played back and forth with much of the play in the neutral zone. Wayland Williams gave Max Becker a slash after Becker had a partial break, and by some oddity, Becker was given a penalty shot which he made a nice move to get the shot up high on Devin Kero to open the scoring. This was the most exciting play in the opening period, as Salmon Arm outshot Merritt 10-4.
Things finally got going in the second period, as the legs seemed to be a little moving just a little bit more following the intermission. Alex Jewell put the 'Backs up by a pair as he flew in to the zone with a goal under 3 minutes in to the period, as helpers came from Cole McCaskill and Jeff Kennedy. 54 seconds later, the Centennials would respond as Zach Hartley crossed the blue line and fired a wrist shot which beat goaltender Angus Redmond to cut the lead in half on his 4th of the season. Momentum for the Cents continued 5:01 later as Scott Patterson got a pass on the right circle from Tyler Martin, where he beat Redmond with a bullet to tie the game. Bennett Huber, at this point, has been credited with the lone assist but there is zero doubt of where the puck came from on the left blue line. Salmon Arm wasn't done yet, as Jewell would pot his 2nd of the night under a minute later to restore the lead. Landon Smith opened the game back up when he brought a pass between his legs, up in front of him where he roofed the puck despite being just inches outside the crease. It was a highlight reel goal at its' best to make it 4-2 with 1:07 left in the period. Merritt was narrowly out shot by Salmon Arm, 12-10 in the period.
Back down by a pair, the Centennials knew they needed to step their game up a level in the third period, and they did just that for much of the period with a much better forecheck and break out from their own zone. Still, errant passes in the neutral zone allowed the Silverbacks to balance the attack, resulting in few continued moments of pressure. On the topic of errant passes, the Silverbacks were shorthanded when they broke out on a 2-on-0 rush from a Centennial giveaway, and Evan Anderson made no mistake on the goal as he received a pass from Landon Smith, while McCaskill picked up his 2nd helper of the night. That made it 5-2, and that is where the game sat until the end, with Salmon Arm just putting the game away from that point on. There were still chances for the Cents, but any chance the 'Backs had to get the puck tied up along the boards, they took advantage of. Final shots ended at 31-28 Salmon Arm, as Merritt fell 5-2 to drop to 10-9-1-0 on the season.
Despite the loss, the line of Hartley-Tracey-Willcox impressed from start to finish with good puck moving skills in all areas of the ice, and they were paid off with a 'plus' on Hartley's second period goal. Dylan Bowen was strong on the blue line, as Malik Kaila also played a strong role. Kaila, in my mind, had his best game of the year, which featured a cross-bar shot that nearly ended up his first BCHL goal.
Merritt now takes on the Chilliwack Chiefs in a home-and-home series which begins on Friday. It is the only visit of the season for the Centennials to Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, before the Chiefs visit the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on Sunday in their only regular season visit to the valley.
Notes from Scafer:
I do need to send out a very sincere thanks to some people in the hockey world for helping make my weekend as enjoyable as it was, despite Sunday's loss.
On Friday I was fortunate to see Rob Abramenko, Todd Miller and Graham Turnbull in the booth in Vernon; three people in the industry I owe a lot to for the things they have done for me in terms of preparing myself day-in, day-out, but not just that, but also month-in and year-out. Todd was a driving force for my inspiration in the pursuit of this Merritt Centennials opportunity, and I am very fortunate to have been given so much to build from, from Todd as well as Rob and Graham. I also got to have a chat with Paul Beugling, a longtime Viper fan dubbed 'the ref' at games, who runs the Vernon Junior Hockey History website. Paul is owed a lot of credit for giving me and many others such an incredible source of learning over the years, and to finally meet him face to face is something I'll forever remember. Something else I'll forever remember is the game I broadcast with Dr. Duncan Wray sitting right beside me for much of. It was very humbling to have been given the chance to talk to Duncan and share our stories and I appreciate the work he put in over the years to give my hometown such great form of entertainment and community boosting. The man has shown the hockey world what Junior hockey should be, and I don't ever see him changing that tradition. Many of my friends and family also came to the game, so they get a big thanks as well for the support!
In Salmon Arm, the first one to come to mind is Troy Mick, someone who has pushed me to have achievable dreams for a long time, and someone I know is doing a great job of making that team stand out in the community. Kevin Cheveldave is a name I had not known for all these years, although if you even mention the name Chevy I think "Salmon Arm!!!". Little did I know; the man who has sharpened more of my skates from size 2-9 than few else, is one of the proud members of early-80s Centennials/Warriors alumni. Chevy's character is a strong implication of his reputation in hockey world. Scott Campbell was probably the guy I was most excited to see, as we haven't tied up since he gave me one of my first BCHL broadcast experiences, (2nd in fact) back in December 2011. Scotty is a great personality in the rink in Salmon Arm, and when he's in that building you can see he's a very passionate dude! Always great to see Soupy, and look forward to seeing him tie the knot next year! Lastly, but not least, Al Robert and Myron Crown, as a pair! Al came on as my colour guy for the broadcast, after serving as my colour commentator in Sicamous during the 2010/11 KIJHL season. He is a great voice for the community of Sicamous and their team! Myron came on with me for several broadcasts' early that 10/11 season, giving me a strong idea of everything I needed to do be prepared for a broadcast. His trademarked "Salmon Arrrrm Silllllllverbacks" announcement is forever etched in my brain and I appreciate his personalism in the pre game when I attempted to recreate his PA introduction, only to have him show me up seconds later on the loud speaker.
Anyways, if you read all through that, you learned a little about me as a person and who I am lucky to know! Thanks, and I appreciate your time. Any suggestions for the broadcast/blog, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org. always open to talk!