Friday, January 31, 2014

Schamerhorn Officially Assigned To Cents From WHL:

This was posted on the WHL Lethbridge Hurricanes website today. Jarod was signed by the Cents at the deadline and looks to be joining the team finally, and could be in the lineup as soon as this weekend(though I could be wrong). 

The Centennials battle the West Kelowna Warriors this evening at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, for the first time since September 14th. It's the first game since December 13th between the two teams, as the warriors have taken all four games on the season series to date.

Game time tonight is 7:30, listen on Q101 at beginning at 7:00 or attend the game for great savings on tickets, as it's FAMILY FRIDAY! Families can get in for just $20.00, and on top of the four tickets, extra's will cost just $5.00! 

Get yourself signed up for the February 11th fan bus at tonight's game! $40.00 all inclusive!

Here's the release:

Jarrod Schamerhorn sent to BC Hockey League

Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes announced Friday they have re-assigned Goalie Jarrod Schamerhorn to the Merritt Centennials of the BC Hockey League who own his rights.
The Hurricanes acquired the Kelowna, BC native at the January 10th WHL trade deadline from the Portland Winterhawks in exchange for a 7th round Bantam pick in 2014.
Prior to joining the Hurricanes, the 6’2, 189 pound netminder had played in 10 games with the Winterhawks posting a 3-2-0-0 record with a 4.40 GAA and .875 save percentage. He was acquired to help the Hurricanes goaltending situation with Teagan Sacher sidelined with an injury. In four appearances with Lethbridge, Schamerhorn was 0-2 with a .822 save percentage.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Centennials Swarm Smoke Eaters Backed By Cuglietta Hat Trick:

Offense came from all angles at all times for the Merritt Centennials on Tuesday night against the Trail Smoke Eaters, as the Cents picked up an 8-1 victory to pull back within a point of Salmon Arm for the final playoff spot.

Diego Cuglietta took home first star honours with a hat trick for the 23-18-4-1 Cents, as Scott Patterson added a pair of goals as well as a pair of helpers. Gavin Gould, Adam Tracey and Payton Schaefer each chipped in with a pair of points as Devin Kero made 14 of 15 saves through 40 minutes before allowing 17-year old Kristian Stead to step in for the third, making 11 saves of his own.

Zane Schartz scored the lone goal for the struggling 9-34-2-3 Smoke Eaters, with the assists coming to Jeremy McNeil and Greysen Reitmeier. In goal, Dustin Nikkel and Nate Rabbitt split duties with Nikkel stopping 27 of 33 and Rabbitt 6 of 8.

The Centennials and Smokies will meet again in Trail on Saturday, but the Cents host West Kelowna on Friday night in the game prior.

The offense got going early when Dane Birks cleared the puck ahead to Scott Patterson who cut through the offensive zone all alone and was initially stopped by Dustin Nikkel but caught his own rebound to open the scoring just 1:02 in to the opening period. Payton Schaefer also picked up and assist on the play. Just prior to the midway mark Diego Cuglietta and Gavin Gould burst in to the zone on a rush and Cuglietta picked up his own bouncing puck and put it by Nikkel for his first goal of the night and 12th of the season. Assists went to Scott Patterson and Dan Nachbaur, who would later leave the game after blocking a shot. At 15:32, immediately after an offensive zone draw Patterson put home his 3rd point of the night after a shot from Jason Bird, who got an assist along with Schaefer. To wrap up the opening period, Gavin Gould took advantage of a Smoke Eater mis-read as he caught the puck in the slot and cut toward the goal for his 10th goal of the campaign, and it was a nice one as he juked the goaltender out before sliding the puck past. That would do it for the opening period as the Centennials clobbered Trail, up 4-0 on the score and 16-3 in shots. 

You know that the Smoke Eaters wanted to deliver some energy and Jake Clifford was the chosen combatant for Adam Wheeldon just over five minutes in to the 2nd, as the two players squared up deep in the Centennial zone and Clifford got the first heavy right in, which proved to be enough as Wheeldon would later stumble to his knees. Shortly after that, Malik Kaila delivered a check in the neutral zone which caught a Trail players knee, ending Kaila's night and putting the Cents down a man for 5 minutes. Brandon Volpe got a 2-on-1 feed and was robbed by Devin Kero shortly after the scrap, as Kero got down and spread his pads across the posts'. It was Adam Tracey who took advantage of the special teams as he scored a shorthanded marker when he stopped up on the left side hashmarks during an odd man rush, and identified the shot and beat Nikkel to put Merritt up 5-0 on Tracey's 8th with the assist to Tyler Martin. Late in the period, with the Cents on the man advantage, Sebastien Pare was penalized with a high stick on Wheeldon, which wouldn't be called for nearly two minutes later. It was called after the Cents made it 6-0, but the goal was waved off as the linesman made the call but isn't allowed to wave the goal off. He is however allowed to hold his arm up, so the decision came as a surprise to everyone in the rink who didn't see the high stick initially. Trail made Merritt pay as Jeremy McNeil made a drop pass to Zane Schartz just inside the blue line, who wired a shot past Kero to make it 5-1 with 1:48 left in the period. Merritt was up 5-1 heading to the break, and outshot Trail 14-12.

Less than a minute in to the third, Cuglietta went in shorthanded and added his 2nd of the night to make it 6-1 at just :59 seconds. Kristian Stead, the Cents' call up from the KIJHL and local boy, made a big stop to break in his mental approach to his BCHL debut. Merritt would add another at 2:51 when Rhett Willcox made a nice play at the side of the night to snap the puck past then-Trail goaltender Nate Rabbitt; whose BCHL profile claims he is from Merritt though he is a Michigan boy. Willcox's 5th got assists from Tracey and Shane Poulsen. The hat trick would be complete as Diego Cuglietta put up another 10:57 in to the third, when he got the puck just in front of the Smokie goal. Patterson and Pare picked up the helpers as the Centennials went up 8-1. Stead would show some heroics shortly thereafter as Bryan Basilico couldn't beat the youngster in goal, before play went down the other way for a Cents chance; then magic happened. Stead got sliding to the right side of the net as the puck went left and he dove across with his paddle and kept the momentum going personally and for his team. Stead finished with 11 stops as Devin Kero made 14 of 15, giving Trail 26 shots compared to 41 from Merritt. The Centennials improved to 23-18-4-1 with an 8-1 win.

View the boxscore here. 

The Centennials host the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday night in yet-another biggest game of the season. Game time at the NVMA is 7:30 as the Q101 broadcast begins at 7:00. After that, the Cents visit the Cominco Arena in Trail on Saturday night.

Friday night's game is Family Night, with $20.00 admission for a family of four, and just $5.00 tickets for each additional child after that!

See you at the rink. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cents and Vipers Take 4-4 Tie From Offensive Night In Merritt Saturday:

On multiple occasions on Saturday night, there were chances for either the Merritt Centennials or Vernon Vipers to bury the game and take the two goal lead, but neither club could make the offence happen consistently in a 4-4 tie that had the teams play through ten minutes of overtimes.

Four different players scored for either team, as the Centennials dropped the extra point back of Salmon Arm in the standings, now with a record of 22-18-4-1. Vernon in the meantime, could have also used the extra point as they settle at 23-15-3-5, which is three points up on Salmon Arm.

The Centennial goal scorers were Scott Patterson, Jeff Wight, Payton Schaefer and Daniel Nachbaur; while the three latter goals all provided Cents leads. Devin Kero made 33 of 37 saves for Merritt.

Vernon got goals from Riley Guenther, TJ Dumonceaux, Logan Mick, and Dexter Dancs while Danny Todosychuk provided solid goaltending with 39 saves.

The next game for the Centennials is a home game on Tuesday night, as the Trail Smoke Eaters are in town for a 7:00 start at the Memorial Arena.

Early in the opening period the Vipers had possession of the puck in the Centennials zone as the puck came back to the blue line on a Wayland Williams scoring chance, and Riley Guenther held the line with a quick shot toward the goal that slipped by Devin Kero just 1:38 in to give Vernon the early lead. Vernon then had a few chances with an odd man rush developing with TJ Dumonceaux on the wing with Demico Hannoun, but the puck dribbled through the crease as Scotty Patterson and Sebastien Pare streaked back the other way but couldn't beat the Vernon goaltender. Off an ensuing Todosychuk save, Rhett Willcox and TJ Dumonceaux's shots at centre turned to fisticuffs as the two dropped the mitts and threw heavy lefts and rights. Dumonceaux may have landed a couple more clear shots, but both players threw 15, at least. Scott Patterson stripped Hannoun off the puck at 10:33 and walked over the blue line with a bullet wrist shot that went top corner to tie the game up. The goal went unassisted and the teams settled for a 1-1 draw after twenty minutes. Shots were 13-11 Vernon. 

Just as early in the second period as the first, Jeff Wight converted on a side of the net play with Diego Cuglietta getting the puck behind the goal for Wight, who added his 18th of the season at 1:31. Offense would take a break for a little bit but near the 8:00 mark the Vipers would skate away as the Centennials failed to keep the puck in the zone, Dumonceaux took a drop pass from Hannoun and ripped a low shot past Kero to tie the game up once more at 7:58. El Capitano would give the Cents the restored lead as Payton Schaefer got a pass on the right circle from Patterson on the goal line, as Schaefer put in his 5th of the year with Pare also earning a helper. Shortly after that, Vernon struck again as the Centennials failed on a couple occasions to clear the zone and Logan Mick scooped the puck up in front of Kero and beat the Cents net minder at 11:25 to tie it once more, 3-3 the score after 40 minutes of play. Shots in the period were 12-7 Merritt. 

The Cents put up a good chance early in the third as Diego Cuglietta nearly got a puck to go in front of the goal with Wayland Williams providing some smart offensive reads to get the puck on net. Just passed the midway point of the opening frame, Shane Poulsen got a break out pass ahead for Gavin Gould would bounced the back off his skate up to Daniel Nachbaur who released a quick shot that caught Todosychuk off guard, either that or it was just too hard for the Vernon netminder to see. The lead was restored as Poulsen didn't get mentioned for an assist, but Gould did get the assist on the play. Vernon wasn't done as the responding shift by the Cents' had Dane Birks crunch Brendan Persley behind the net but the puck was forced back in to the zone by Persley who fed Dexter Dancs who fed Dexter Dancs with speed over the blue line as Dancs ripped a snap shot home to tie the game at 4. Late in the game, with just under five minutes to go, Adam Tracey and Demico Hannoun picked up coincidental roughing after the whistle after a skirmish in the Viper zone. With Tracey in the box, Hannoun went to the Viper bench, and while being summoned to the penalty box he skated by Willcox at centre and lunged at the Centennial forward with his stick first and struck the Centennial in the head.
Hannoun then got assessed a five minute high sticking major, and the Centennials had a crucial powerplay for an extended amount of time but a bouncing puck and an on-tee penalty kill from Vernon successfully killed off the entire PIM. Regulation ended with Vernon being outshot 10-9 in the period, but the teams' headed to overtime to try and settle it four on four.

They wouldn't. Despite 10 shots by Merritt and 8 by Vernon, goaltending picked up in the overtime and chances weren't really glorified, as both clubs settled for a tie. The best and nearly the only chance was created off an Adam Tracey shot as the puck trickled past Todosychuk but was cleared from a wide open goal by a Viper at the last moment. Neither team could avoid the tie as Merritt outshot Vernon 43-37. 

The Trail Smoke Eaters will be in town on Tuesday night for a 7:00 puck drop. It is the final trip to Merritt for Trail, who will then host the Centennials on Saturday night at Cominco Arena for the final game of the season series.

Tune in to Tuesday's game on Q101 at 6:30, or go to the game with $5.00 admission for everyone, and drink specials giving you great savings for yourself and friends and family!

See you at the rink!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Centennials Return Home To Host Vipers After Rough Loss In Coquitlam:

The Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers met under two weeks ago in Merritt, and the Centennials were able to pull momentum from a prior loss and turn it in to a victory against the Vipers, and on Saturday night they'll have to rebound from a loss once more in search of a win in the sixth of seven games between the teams.

Shane Poulsen scored the lone goal for the Cents on Friday night in Coquitlam, as the Express got a pair from Adam Rockwood. Fresh Michigan Tech-commit Devin Kero made 20 saves in the loss, as the Centennials record slipped to 22-18-3-1, keeping them a pair of points back of Salmon Arm.

Vernon has just one win in their past five, but have played four games since the game in Merritt two Tuesday's ago. On Friday night, the Penticton Vees brought their best to Vernon in a 6-1 shellacking of the Vipers, bringing their record to 23-15-3-5.

The Cents have a pair of home games remaining in January after this contest, and with a few parents making the trip to town from both sides I think we can expect an energetic crowd along with energetic players on the ice. The teams' close the regular season against one-another, so there are lots of situations that could play out in the standings between now and then.

Former Viper Jason Bird picked up an assist on Friday night, on a powerplay point shot that he had deflected in front by his defensive partner Shane Poulsen. Bird, along with his trade-counterpart Dylan Chanter, have both played 7 games on their new clubs, with Chanter being pointless and Bird has two assists.

With a Centennials win on Saturday, the Vipers would hold a four point lead on Merritt and Salmon Arm for the final playoff spot, as West Kelowna has taken over the two spot.

Jeff Wight had a strong showing in the last meeting, putting up a pair of goals and an assist, while Diego Cuglietta had a goal and an assist as Devin Kero made 21 of 22 saves.

For Vernon the last time out, depth players played the stronger role such as Logan Mick and Tyler Povelovskie but tonight I expect them to look to the top end guys for results. Ryan Renz got a goal the last game vs Merritt, while Austin Smith made 29 of 33 stops despite playing a very strong game for Vernon.

Game time Saturday is 7:30 at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, and the Q101 pregame show begins at 7:00.

Tune in online at and watch through FastHockey on! I'll have the call on one side and Graham Turnbull has the call on 107.5 KISS FM for all you Vernon-folk!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Good Way To Start Weekend, Devin Kero Commits To Michigan Tech:

The BCHL's most recent player of the week just got back from a fly-down to one NCAA school, and the Merritt Centennials netminder committed to another on Friday; his home-state school.

Devin Kero will attend Michigan Tech University and play for the Huskies in either the 14/15 or 15/16 season. This is tremendous news for Devin and his family, as this is a program he has dreamt of playing for for a long time.

Here is the news release from the Centennials website:

Oh... and by the way, Devin's license plate has a M-Tech logo on it, so this is very fitting.

The Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League(BCHL) are pleased to announce the commitment of goaltender Devin Kero(94) to the Michigan Tech Huskies for the 14/15 or 15/16 season. 

Devin is the 3rd member of the 2013/14 Centennials to have earned an NCAA scholarshipp, joining Jeff Wight and Dane Birks.

Head Coach & General Manager Luke Pierce, "We are very excited for Devin and the opportunity he has been given to continue his hockey career at Michigan Tech."

"Playing for the Huskies has been a dream for Devin for a long time and to see a young man achieve a dream like that is very gratifying. He has earned this opportunity with tremendous hard work and dedication not only with our hockey club but in all aspects of his life. Devin is a tremendous student and understands the value of a quality education, which he will receive at Michigan Tech."

The Hancock, Michigan product has posted a 2.37 GAA and currently holds a .921 Save % in his first season in the BCHL.

Devin was named the BCHL's Player of the Week this past week, for a pair of victories over divisional rivals Penticton and Vernon. 

"We look forward to continued success this year with Devin and once again congratulate him on this special achievement." Pierce concluded.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Centennials Prepping For Another Action-Packed Weekend:

Here is today's Merritt Herald article, as written by Ian Webster. 
Merritt Centennials’ netminder Devin Kero was absolutely sensational on Friday night in leading his team to a thrilling 2-1 victory over the visiting Penticton Vees in front of almost 900 enthusiastic fans at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
Kero turned aside 35 of 36 Penticton shots, including 15 in the third period, to backstop the Cents to just their second win in seven games this season against the Interior Division-leading Vees.
“It might have been the best game that Devin played for us this year,” said Centennials head coach and GM Luke Pierce. “He was outstanding.”
Kero, who has allowed just one goal in each of his last two starts (both Cents’ wins) is understandably feeling good about his recent play.
“I’m really comfortable with my game and confident right now,” the 19-year-old native of Hancock, Mich. said. “When I’m on, I notice that I’m tracking the puck really well, controlling my rebounds and finding a way to get to the puck. I also pride myself on being athletic and getting to the back door plays that you don’t always have much of a chance on.”
Providing all the scoring that Merritt would need against the Vees were a pair of Cents’ energizer bunnies — Diego Cuglietta and Daniel Nachbaur.
Cuglietta made up for a missed penalty shot early in the second period with the game’s first goal a few shifts later. Skating in on a two-on-one with Adam Tracey, Cuglietta elected to shoot and buried the puck behind Vees’ starting goalie Hunter Miska.
After Penticton’s Brad McClure tied the game on the powerplay just seven seconds into the third period, it was a bit of Nachbaur ‘magic’ that put the Cents back in front for good.
“We were exiting our zone,” Nachbaur explained. “Payton [Schaefer] had the puck and I think he was trying a rink-wide pass, but the puck ended up deflecting off my rear end. It went right between their two defencemen. I managed to beat them to it and found myself on a short breakaway. I went to my backhand and got the puck past the goalie, between his body and arm.”
Nachbaur’s game winner Friday night was his second in a week. He also had the go-ahead goal on Jan. 10 in Merritt’s 4-3 victory over the Nanaimo Clippers.
“Daniel’s goal against Penticton really developed out of nothing,” said Pierce. “He’s a great skater, and he’s got very slick hands at speed. He uses quite a short stick which allows him to do some good things.”
Nachbaur is just pleased to be finally back playing and contributing.
“It was difficult being injured and out of the line-up for almost three months. It took awhile for me to get my timing, but I finally feel that I’ve got that edge back that I had before.”
Equally impressive in recent games has been the revitalized play of the Cents’ blueline corps, led by new acquisition Jason Bird.
“The experience that Jason brings to the team is huge,” said Cents assistant coach Joe Martin. “It’s the patience he shows, the way he plays with and without the puck. It’s been a big lift for everybody.”
Bird’s arrival has allowed coach Martin to keep veterans Dane Birks and Tyler Martin together as one pairing, and team Shane Poulsen with Bird as a second unit. In recent games, it’s been steady Jake Clifford with vastly-improved Wayland Williams as the third twosome.
“It’s created a backend that’s much more consistent and comfortable on the ice,” said Martin. “As long as nobody gets ahead of themselves, and [everybody] continues to play sound defensive hockey, we should be in good shape.”
Despite winning both their games this past week, Merritt slipped back into fifth place in the BCHL’s Interior Division standings, two points behind Salmon Arm in the battle for the fourth and final playoff spot, and six back of the Vernon Vipers who occupy third place. The Cents have two games in hand on both teams, and play five of their next seven games at home.
Before entertaining the Vipers this Saturday night, the Centennials must make a trip to Coquitlam on Friday to take on the Express. Both games will be tough, according to Pierce.
“[The Express] play a very offensive-minded game and score a lot of goals. We will need to play our style of game and just grind them down.
“As for Vernon, I didn’t think they played a very good game here last time (a 4-1 win for Merritt on Jan. 10), said Pierce. “They’re dangerous when all their players show up. And, like us, they’re in the dogfight that is our division.”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Centennials Knock Off Vees And Close Season Series On Friday In 2-1 Win:

After a early-second period penalty shot, Diego Cuglietta opened the scoring on a two-on-one, giving the Centennials plenty of life in a 2-1 win over the Penticton Vees on Friday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in front of a season-best 843 fans.

Daniel Nachbaur also showed off some offensive flash, splitting the D midway through the third to give the Centennials the lead, while Devin Kero made 35 of 36 saves in the game for his 15th win of the season, as the Cents improved to 22-17-3-1.

Penticton got a lone marker from team scoring leader Brad McClure, who took a net-front feed just :07 seconds in to the third from Brett Beauvais in the corner. Hunter Miska went the distance in goal with an injured Olivier Mantha, as Miska made 21 of 23 saves dropping the Vees to 27-11-2-3.

The two teams will not meet again until the potential chance to meet in the Interior Division playoffs, as the Centennials finish the season series with Penticton at 2-3-1-1, good for 6 of 12 points.

The Centennials have a seven day break before a trip to Coquitlam next Friday, 24 hours prior to hosting the Vernon Vipers.

You could sense the clubs butted head in the opening period, as one team would work the puck to centre then deep in the zone, then the other team would come right back out. There were a few good scoring chances in the period as Adam Tracey got a couple shots away but was stopped by the pad of Miska at the side of the net. Late in the opening period, the Vees would produce a couple non-glorious but still present scoring opportunities, but Kero was sharp and ready to go on this night. Penticton outshot Merritt 11-9 in the first, while a Zach Hartley penalty marked the only man advantage, though Merritt fans disagreed and thought the Cents deserved a powerplay of their own.

Early in the second, the Cents would get their man advantage as Shane McColgan carelessly launched his stick up to the face of Jeff Wight(may have been Payton Schaefer?), who got up after a few moments and returned to play shortly after. Merritt was unable to muster up any good chances before Diego Cuglietta was sent to the box for holding the stick. After his penalty expired, Cuglietta broke free on a breakaway but was hauled by down a Penticton player. That marked the 2nd penalty shot in the season series. Cuglietta tried to go glove side but Miska was there to reject it. A couple shifts after that, Cuglietta went to work again, picking up a 2-on-1 rush with Tracey, where Cuglietta opted to shoot blocker side to open the scoring. His 11th of the season came at 9:52, Jeff Wight and Shane Poulsen got the assists. Merritt would go on to be outshot 10-9 in the period, but came away with the only goal as Sebastien Pare and Dane Birks both received late period penalties. 

Photo Credit Ian Webster - Merritt Herald
To start the third, I don't think anyone in the building expected that the Vees would get on the board so quickly. Off the Nic Pierog face-off win, Brett Beauvais moved the puck deep in to the left corner before he threw it out front and had the puck go off Brad McClure and by Kero, to make it 1-1. The time of the goal was just 7 seconds in to the third. Daniel Nachbaur knew he could carry the team and you could see it in his skating stride, especially just prior to the midway point of the period as he kept the puck in front of him and sped through the Vees defenders, pulling the puck to his backhand to the side of Miska, beating the Vees netminder to gives the Cents the 2-1 lead. Penticton got a powerplay late in the game but the Centennials PK was on the ball, and with an empty net the Vees pressured but couldn't get anything past Devin Kero, or the rock solid Centennial defenders. Shane McColgan took another 10 minute misconduct at the end of the game, his 2nd in as many games since joining Penticton. McColgan did not make an impact in the game and has been held pointless in two games, while the Vees have scored just twice in their last two games. Penticton outshot Merritt 36-23, but the Centennials earned the victory by a score of 2-1.

When you look up and down the Centennials lineup, there weren't a lot of blemishes. A few too many penalties, some of them definitely avoidable, but at the end of the night it was a team effort that had the guys taking advantage of nearly every opportunity that presented, whether it was a goal or just a chance to clear the zone. You can't say enough of Devin Kero, who flies down to Air Force Academy on Saturday, Kero was phenomenal yet again in goal. Jason Bird again was solid for the Cents, and he looks to really fit in, especially playing with Shane Poulsen. 

It's a whole week off for the Centennials now, who will relax on Saturday and Sunday before heading back to the rink on Monday for practise. Game action will resume on Friday night with the 22-17-3-1 Cents visiting the 20-18-1-3 Coquitlam Express. 

The next home game goes Saturday of next weekend, when the Vernon Vipers are back in the Nicola Valley. Looking forward to seeing Graham Turnbull, Duncan Wray, Jason Williamson and company. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Centennials Get First Home Win Of 2014, 4-1 Over Vipers:

It had been nearly two weeks since a home game, and nearly a month since the last home ice win, and Tuesday night had the Merritt Centennials show exactly how much they appreciated home ice in a 4-1 win over the visiting Vernon Vipers.

Jeff Wight was one of several difference makers in the game, as his goal to make it 2-0 and assist to make it 3-0 helped him to 1st Star honors, along with an empty netter to seal the deal in the dying seconds, giving him 17 on the season. Diego Cuglietta ended the game as the 2nd Star, finishing with a goal(10th) and an assist, and Jason Bird earned the 3rd Star with his first point as a Cent against his former team.

Rhett Willcox set up Adam Tracey for the goal to open the scoring in the second, with Willcox taking the Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game. Tracey's 7th of the year came well deserved, as did Willcox and Zach Hartley with the assists. The all-rookie line played a great game and was given encouraging words from Head Coach Luke Pierce on the Q101 Post Game Show.

Devin Kero was sharp when called upon, making 21 saves on 22 shots. At the other end, Austin Smith seen 33 shots from Centennial sticks, including 16 in the second period. Smith made 30 saves, with the final tally going in to the empty net, just.

Ryan Renz scored the lone goal for Vernon, as he moved in with a in tight backhand that beat Kero for Renz' 3rd of the season. Renz was paired with former-Cent Dylan Chanter, as Chanter returned to Merritt for the first time since the 2012/13 playoffs.

With the win, the Centennials now sit at 21-17-3-1 on the season with 46 points, which is enough for 4th in the Interior Division. Also tied for the final playoff spot is the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, who have one less victory than the Cents this season.

Merritt finished 1-for-5 on the man aadvantage, improving to 4-for-16 against the Vipers in the season series, while Vernon went 0-for-3 to fall to 3-for-22 against Merritt.

The next game for the Centennials is Friday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena as the Cents take on the Penticton Vees. Puck drop is 7:30, with the Q101 broadcast beginning at 7:00.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Centennials Return Home From Island To Face Vipers Tuesday:

It will feel all too nice for the Merritt Centennials when they step foot on the ice of the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on Tuesday night following a four game road stand, in which the team earned just one win.

The Centennials head in to the game with a record of 20-17-3-1, and are looking to match Salmon Arm's 46 points in the Interior Division standings. The 'Backs and Cents will meet back-to-back in the second to last weekend of the regular season.

The Centennials opponent; for just the second time in Merritt this season, is the Vernon Vipers. Jason Williamsons' squad is looking to gain ground on Penticton, and they currently trail by 8 points with a 22-12-3-4 record, good for 51 points.

While Vernon is 2-2 in 2014, the Centennials are now 1-3-1 since the Christmas break but the time could not seem more kind to break out of a mini-slump. One of the biggest stories of the night is #24 Jason Bird - who will face his former team for the first time. On the other side, an arguably bigger return is #24 Dylan Chanter, who returns to Merritt to play for the first time since the Playoffs in 2013.

Chanter and Bird have both been held pointless in their new uniforms, although Bird has played 4 games, 2 more than Chanter.

While Jarrod Schamerhorn is not expected to appear in a Cents jersey for at least a few more days, just Brett Mulcahy will be an unfamiliar face when these teams' square it up at 7:00 PM. Mulcahy was acquired by the Vipers just prior to the deadline.

Nine BCHL teams have played just a single game on home ice since Christmas, the Centennials are one of them. Vernon has played just a single game away form home, and much like the Cents home game it was the first game back since Christmas.

Jeff Wight has been listed at 183rd overall on the NHL Central Scouting Mid-Season Rankings, while Vernon Vipers forward Mason Blacklock was ranked 158th, and Demico Hannoun 185th.

In the previous meetings between Vernon and Merritt, the Centennials have been able to sneak away with a pair of wins, however those wins came in the first pair of games of the four games played so far this season. In the most recent game, Vernon came away with a 4-0 win while the game prior resulted in a tie.

The Q101 Pregame Show on Tuesday begins at 7:30 on and with Dustin Scafe.

Next up for the Centennials will be the Penticton Vees on Friday evening in Merritt.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Centennials Open Island Swing With Win Over Clippers:

Wayland Williams(2nd) and Daniel Nachbaur(4th) scored 3rd period goals for the Merritt Centennials on Friday night, as the Nanaimo Clippers let a 3-1 slip away in an eventual 4-3 Centennials win at Frank Crane Arena.

Scott Patterson(20th) and Sam Johnson(6th) also provided scoring for the Cents, who improved to 20-16-3-1 on the season with the win and now sit just two points back of Salmon Arm in the Interior Division Standings.

Devin Kero surrended a pair of goals in the opening 6:14, but bounced back with a 34 save effort which included several big saves to preserve his teams' chance to pick up two points.

Replying for Mike Vandekamp's Clippers was Luke Sandler, Bo Brauer and Ryan Forbes. Jayson Argue made 30 of 34 saves in the net for the Clippers, with an 11 save opening period marking his best 20 minutes. 

The game featured many of the sparks and flames you would normally see in a heated division rivalry game, and powerplay numbers reflected that as the Clippers finished the evening at 0-for-4 while the Centennials converted in the 2nd period to go 1-for-6 on the powerplay.

The Vancouver Island trip will conclude on Saturday night, as the Centennials embark on a trip to the south Island to face the Victoria Grizzlies at Bear Mountain Arena.

Game time on Saturday is 7:15, with the Norgaard Ready Mix Pregame Show beginning at 6:45 on Q101 with Dustin Scafe.

Next home game for the Centennials is Tuesday night, when the Vernon Vipers make their 2nd trip to the Nicola Valley, game time is 7:30. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Centennials Release Spring Camp Dates and Registration Forms:

The Merritt Centennials made an announcement on Wednesday, releasing the dates of their 2014 Spring Camp; which will be held in Merritt at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena!

The camp runs from April 4th to 6th, with Registration Forms Available Here.

For 2014, the cost is $175.00 and if players or parents have questions they should get ahold of Assistant Coach Joe Martin at or at 250-378-3607.

At the 2013 Camp, players such as Gavin Gould, Malik Kaila, Jake Clifford, Adam Tracey, Daniel Nachbaur and Zach Hartley were in attendance and helped solidify their roster spots due to the added exposure and opportunity.

Lots has changed since these days!
For me, I was once a Spring Camp go'er, with stops in Trail and Nanaimo among BCHL clubs and several KIJHL teams. My most memorable camp was in 2008 when I attempted to crack Jim Ingram's Trail Smoke Eaters.

Now-Swift Current Broncos Play by Play guy Shawn Mullin gave me a chance for my first BCHL exposure online, even after getting the snip!

View that blog post here:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Former Merritt Centennial Acts It Up On YTV (Merritt Herald Article):

Who says hockey players are one dimensional?
Fresh off playing one of Gordie Howe’s son’s in the CBC biopic Mr. Hockey, 21-year-old former Merritt Centennial Dylan Playfair has landed an ongoing role in the new YTV sitcomSome Assembly Required which premiered on Monday of this week at 6:30 p.m.
Playfair, the son of former NHLer Jim Playfair, plays the part of Malcolm Knoxford III (Knocks to his friends), a sweetly-dim extreme athlete who has been held back a few grades in school.
“He’s a happy-go-lucky, energetic, crash-test-dummy kind of guy,” Playfair told Provinceentertainment reporter Glen Schaefer.
Playfair, who was born in Fort St. James, played one season (2010-11) with the Merritt Centennials. A fan favorite, the personable Playfair registered no goals, one assist and 56 penalty minutes in 42 games.

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Weekend of 2014 Brings Centennials Single Point Despite Six Possible:

The Merritt Centennials had a bit of a difficult first weekend of 2014, earning just a single point with an opportunity to go for six. Friday night had the Cents welcoming and tying the Penticton Vees, but it was trips to Salmon Arm and Penticton that brought losses to the record of the now 19-16-3-1 Centennials. 

As much as the results look lacklustre, some players played very hard this weekend and played with great intensity and ethic, but unfortunately the results just didn't follow in terms of goals for.

Offensive consistency has been plaguing the Centennials, who in the past 10 games have scored 25 goals, but 18 of those goals came in just 4 of those games. In 2014, Merritt has buried 5 times in 3 games, despite putting up 97 shots on goal. That's a .948 Save % for opposing goaltenders, which is very different from the .897 Save % they gave goalies in four of the final five games of 2013.

With the trade deadline looming, I wouldn't go saying that Luke Pierce and Joe Martin will be doing too much shopping, but I would assume that much like every other BCHL team, they are listening to offers that will make this hockey club better down the stretch.

Jason Bird provided a nice spark to the powerplay on the weekend, unleashing his shot a couple of times on Sunday while appearing much more comfortable in a Centennials uniform. Bird was acquired last week from the Vernon Vipers in exchange for the Rights to Dylan Chanter.

As promised, here's a chance to get to know the newest Cent!

Here's the weekend game recaps from!

By the way, while doing some browsing around... I stumbled upon my first ever BCHL game blog post over at Ron Gallo's Spruce Kings blog! Check 'er out!


Adam Tracey scored his 5th of the season to tie the game 6:29 in to the third period on Friday night for the Merritt Centennials, and a 36-save performance from Devin Kero helped seal a point in a 1-1 tie with the Penticton Vees at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

With the single point, the Centennials are 19-14-3-1 to start 2014 and sit just a pair of points back of the Salmon Arm SilverBacks heading in to Saturday's clash in the Shuswap.

Tracey's goal saw him go end-to-end with a five hole shot that slipped by Vees netminder Hunter Miska, with the pass coming from Malik Kaila, who earned an asist along with goaltender Devin Kero.

Kero, along with Miska, were the heroes of the night, combining for 72 saves between the two. Kero and Miska finished as 1st and 2nd Stars, respectively, while Brett Beauvais was the 3rd Star.

Penticton's lone goal came late in the opening period, as Beauvais scored his 10th of the season on a high speed forecheck that involved assists from Jack Ramsey and Riley Alferd.

Both teams failed to convert on multiple powerplay chances, while the Centennials Jeff Wight was stopped on a double overtime penalty shot off a 3-on-3 infranction from Patrick Sexton. 


Adam Tracey opened the scoring with his 6th point in as many games for the Merritt Centennials, but the Salmon Arm SilverBacks reeled off four consecutive goals before the third to hang on to a 4-2 win on Saturday night.

Scott Patterson also added a goal for the Centennials, while Devin Kero made 27 saves in the loss.

Scoring for Salmon Arm was Michael Roberts, Jeff Kennedy, Colton Thibault and Alex Gillies. In goal, Angus Redmond made 29 saves for the win, after being yanked prior to the Christmas break in a Centennials 5-2 win.

Salmon Arm's powerplay failed to convert on three chances, while the Merritt powerplay was dangerous, putting up a ratio of 2-for-3.


Cody DePourq opened the scoring just :13 seconds in to the first period as the Penticton Vees went on to post a 6-2 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Sunday afternoon at SOEC in Penticton, knocking the Cents to 19-16-3-1 on the season.

Daniel Nachbaur scored his 4th of the season in the second period while Shane Poulsen picked up his 7th to give Merritt life midway through the third.

In the loss, Nathan Alalouf performed very well, making a total of 21 saves in his Centennials debut.

Payton Schaefer, Jake Clifford and Bennett Huber earned assists during the game.

Penticton's goal scorers were DePourq, Jack Ramsey, Ben Dalpe, Brad McClure(2) and Steen Cooper.

Olivier Mantha made 24 of 26 saves for the Vees, who improved to 25-9-2-3, taking a 6 point lead atop the Interior Division standings.

Both teams had five powerplays in the game, with the Vees getting the lone powerplay goal at the start of the second period.

For the Centennials, the next game will be during the first Island trip of the season, with the Nanaimo Clippers welcoming the Cents to Frank Crane Arena on Friday night at 7:00 PM.

Merritt will then visit Victoria on Saturday, before returning home to host the Vernon Vipers on January 14th.

The BCHL Trade Deadline is Friday, January 10th. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Centennials Grade Well As Team Prepares To Kick Off New Year:

Sebastien Pare has served his two-game suspension and will
play on Friday night. 
As the Christmas break is now over, the 19-14-2-1 Merritt Centennials have had nearly two weeks to review their game plan, and Ian Webster of the Merritt Herald took an opportunity to review the Centennials season to date by publishing his 4th Annual Report Card.

The first game of 2014 for the Centennials is Friday night when the 24-9-1-3 Penticton Vees visit the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena at 7:30. It's the second of three visits to the valley for the Vees, who slipped by the Cents 5-4 back on December 6th in Merritt.

The Norgaard Ready Mix Pregame Show starts at 7:00 at and, while the game can also be viewed via Fast Hockey.

On a side note, the Merritt Tracker Sportswear Midget Rep Centennials are hosting their annual tournament this weekend at the Shulus and Nicola Valley Memorial Arena's. View the complete tournament schedule here.


Goaltending: B 
This season was supposed to see a return to the two-goalie system of two years ago, with returnee Russell Sanderson and rookie Devin Kero sharing the workload almost equally. That plan went out the window early as Sanderson spent a good part of the first four months on the sidelines due to injuries and illness. Ohio native Kero has been spectacular at times and solid almost every night in amassing a 12-11-2 record in 26 starts. His 2.39 GAA and 92.0 SV% are fifth-best in the BCHL, heady stuff for a first-year net minder.

Defense: B
With just two returnees from last season (Tyler Martin, Dane Birks), this year’s blueline brigade has been very much a work in progress. The acquisition of Shane Poulsen from Trail in the summer has been a blessing as he leads all Cents D’man with five goals and 20 points. More production from the rest of the rearguards is desperately needed. The loss of Dylan Bowan in a trade that went sour has left the backend paper thin and one has to think that something is going to happen at the trade deadline to shore up the ranks.

Offense: C+ 
More goals was a stated objective for this year’s team. It hasn’t happened. The goals-per-game average is down from last season at this time (3.25 to 3.03) — a big reason why the Cents find themselves in fifth place at the break. It’s scoring by committee again this year, but the committee lacks numbers. Merritt has one player in the league’s top-40: Scotty Patterson (18-16-34; 28th). Injuries ravaged the Cents’ forward ranks in the first half of the season. Hopefully the worst is over.

Special Teams: B 
The aforementioned injury woes have made it difficult for the Cents to excel in special teams play. They are to be commended for a powerplay that ranks 7th in the league, and a penalty kill that comes in at 6th overall. That said, the goal-starved Centennials simply have to get more productive with the man advantage. They must make the opposition pay for their indiscretions. It’s no coincidence that in the 16 games so far this season that they’ve failed to score on the PP, they’ve lost seven of them.

Coaching: B 
It’s year three for the coaching tandem of Luke Pierce and Joe Martin. Few can argue with the character and effort that their players demonstrate year in, year out — both on and off the ice. The reality is that Jr. A hockey, and the BCHL in particular, are results driven. The motto could well be: What have you done for me lately? This small-market franchise desperately needs to make and go deep into the playoffs. Hopefully, with a healthier lineup for the stretch run, the coaches will be up to the task at hand.

Intangibles: B 
Cents’ players and coaches have faced a tremendous amount of adversity over the first four months of this season, with a plethora of injuries and a mini-epidemic wrecking havoc with lineups and game plans. On many nights, it’s been a patchwork of veterans and rookies that has had to get the job done. The bottom line is that every team in every sport experiences the same obstacles at one time or another. Winners rise to the challenge and find a way to succeed. The next two months will determine if this year’s Cents have the mettle.