The Merritt Centennials are looking to build on a offensive explosion last weekend.

Maybe the Merritt Centennials should get hypnotized more often.

Less than 24 hours after many members of the team were put under the spell of master illusionist Gavin Hooper at the club’s annual Icebreaker fundraiser, the Cents produced one of their best efforts on the ice this season.

Led by the two-goal performance of rookie forward Brendan Schneider, the Centennials played a complete 60 minutes of hockey, handily disposing of the visiting West Kelowna Warriors 5-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Other Merritt marksmen against the Warriors were the Van Unen brothers, Rylan and Michael, and Brad Cocca.

“When the parents are here, it kind of makes things complete. It’s a chance for the players to feel more at home while they’re away from home.” – Cents head coach Joe Martin

Jake Berger picked up the win in net, allowing just the one goal on 38 shots.

Right from the opening faceoff, there were so many things to like about this Centennials’ outing: the quick start (21 first-period shots and the opening goal of the game), the relentless forecheck, the accountability at both ends of the ice, the tape-to-tape passing, the PK (a perfect six-for-six), and the dangerous powerplay (two-for-five).

Despite a three-goal lead after 40 minutes, the Cents keep the pedal to the metal right to the end in this one — finishing with 60 shots on beleaguered Warriors’ goaltender Cole Demers.

Reflecting on the slight change the coaching staff made in the forecheck for the game against the Warriors, and the subsequent success, Cents’ bench boss Joe Martin said, “You kind of feel awful that we didn’t pick up on it earlier, but it is what it is. We’re just happy we got that improvement Sunday.”

Martin was also very pleased with the way everything went on Icebreaker/Parents weekend.

“When the parents are here, it kind of makes things complete. It’s a chance for the players to feel more at home while they’re away from home.”

The Centennials now get ready for a three-game road trip on the weekend that takes them to Victoria and Port Alberni  on Vancouver Island and then Surrey on Sunday afternoon.

“All three are good teams,” said Martin. “We’ll have to be at our best to take points away from them.”

The Cents will head to the Island this weekend with a new goalie. The team has acquired 19-year-old Austin Roden from the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations. Roden, who hails from Victoria, is in his second BCHL season. In 34 games, he has a 11-14-2 record with two shutouts, a save percentage of .903, and a goals-against average of 3.17.

Jared Breitkreuz, who had been backing up Berger since the loss of Vincent Duplessis for the season due to injury, has been released back to the 100 Mile Wranglers of the KIJHL.

“We made sure Jared had a place to play, and play a lot,” said Martin. “We owed him that.”