Merritt - Spencer Eschyschyn
West Kelowna - Matt Mitchell
A good pace started off as just 1:09 in Merritt would jump on board with a quick goal from Cooper Prechel as he snapped a point shot over the pad of Matt Mitchell. The assist went to Jake Holland.
The Warriors settled down after that early goal, and would get it back on an Eric Theander deflection from a Zach Morey point shot. Devin Garg would pick up a helper as well.
Merritt scored twice in 54 seconds with just under 6 to go in the opening frame, as Holland picked up a puck in the slot on a bad clear on a Warriors penalty kill, as he beat Mitchell with the shot. Tyler Wickman had the lone assist. Then, Nick Fidanza would be the recipient of some hard work on the boards as he would give the Cents a 3-1 lead with assists to Josh Kobelka and Braeden Allkins.
Shots in the 1st period were 12-8 in favour of Merritt.
Both teams settled into a defensive style in Period 2, with only 1 goal scored. The Warriors would be the one to get it on the PP at 18:15. Jake Harrison (who was the youngest player in the game) scored on the point shot to make it a 3-2 game at that point. Austin Piquette took over for the Warriors between the pipes at the 11:14 mark. Matt Mitchell, tonight's starter, made 17 saves on 20 shots.
Shots in the 2nd were 10-8 for West Kelowna, 20-18 Merritt overall through 2.
Anthony Pupplo would take over between the pipes for the Merritt Centennials to start the 3rd Period. The Cents would get the 1st goal in the 3rd as Cameron Obcena finished off a 2 on 1 on a beautiful pass from Braeden Allkins. Tyrell Buckley drew the other assist.
West Kelowna would begin an barrage of offensive action at 9:36 when Parker Ward knocked in a loose puck. Matteo Milroy drew the assist.
Julian Uhrynuik would get the 4-4 goal at 12:10 from Anthony Bishop, and at 18:23 the Warriors took a 5-4 lead as Greydon Robinson would go top shelf from the blue line on the Powerplay. Carter Huber had the assist.
Merritt would not go away as with 21.8 to play, Brandon Duhaime deflected a shot from Scott Munro to tie it up and send it to Overtime.
Shots in the 3rd period were 18-14 Warriors, and 36-32 overall.
The 1st OT would solve nothing, and there weren't any quality scoring chances in the 4 on 4 session. West Kelowna out-shot Merritt 3-2.
At 2:28 of 3 on 3 action, Jake Holland would get the puck up to Dustin Cochrane, who drove wide on the defender and put a back-hand shot past Austin Piquette for the Game Winning Goal. Merritt had the only 2 shots in the 3 on 3 session.
Overall the Warriors battled hard for the majority of the night, and the young guys in the lineup need to look at the positives from tonight's game. The 3 goals they put up in period 3 were a big bright spot, especially against Anthony Pupplo, who is slated to be Jonah Imoo's back-up for the Centennials this season. Both Carter Huber and Julian Uhrynuik were flying throughout the game, while Greydon Robinson and Jake Harrison were solid on the back end.
The Warriors will head to Merritt tomorrow night and will more than likely ice near the same line-up.