The Cents ground out a textbook road game that didn’t have a deciding factor until a goal with 3 seconds remaining gave the Cents the edge over the Spruce Kings.
The first period didn’t have a lot going for either side save some penalties. The Cents made three trips to the sin bin along with two misconducts, but were able to kill all of the Spruce Kings attempts. Rookie netminder and native of the North, Colton Phillips-Watts was a big part of the penalty kill and held the team in the period. The Cents got a pair of powerplay opportunities but weren’t able to make good on them. Shots after one were 9-5 PG.
In the second period the offense started to roll, Nick Rheaume went to the box for interference and the Cents went to the powerplay. With the extra man, the puck was worked up to Grayson Valente and he was able to walk down the left side and fire an off-angle rocket to open the scoring. The Cents took just one penalty in the second period, and were able to play much more disciplined on the road, but squandered a two-man advantage late in the frame. Andrew Seaman leveled the score after some pretty passing by PG to make it 1-1. Shots after two were 17-10.
The final frame saw both teams jockey for position and the go ahead goal. Colton Phillips-Watts made some quality stops to keep the team in it and the game tied. An early penalty by Erichuk was killed off, and it wasn’t until a late too many men call that the Centennials got their golden opportunity. With just 32 seconds left Derek Sweet-Coulter called his time out, drew up his play and the players executed. After the puck swung round to the right point, Talon Zakall gathered the loose puck, fired low and Ben Ward caught a piece in front to put it past Trotter and deliver the Cents to victory with just three seconds remaining. Final shots were 25-17.
The Cents now have another couple weeks before they meet the Spruce Kings again on November 7th.
Three stars of the game:
1) Grayson Valente (Merritt)
2) Ben Ward (Merritt)
3) Andrew Seaman (Prince George)