Although the Merritt Centennials eked out a win for their home opener against the West Kelowna Warriors, the other two games have been a different story, with upsets on either side.
The Warriors’ home opener was against the Cents the night before, on Friday, Sept. 11, where they were able to score six goals to the Centennials’ four.
This past Tuesday’s home game against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks looked close coming into the third period tied at 5-5, but the Silverbacks scored two goals at the end, making the final 7-5.
Newly appointed head coach and general manager of the Centennials Joe Martin said that while it was good to have a win on the board, he’s not happy with how the team is performing.
“It was a lot of mistakes and a lot of sloppy play,” he said of their win. “That’s kind of expected at the start of the year, unfortunately it’s now carried over for three games.”
Martin said the team is trying to focus on what they did right, particularly in the third period of that game.
“In all honesty, we’re getting outworked,” he said. “We’re getting a little bit more down to basics over the next couple of days, and putting our guys through the paces of what real work is like, and how hard it is to win in this hockey league, and how hard you have to compete.”
Martin said that the mistakes that they’re making on the ice are not mistakes of effort. “I can always live with mistakes of effort, it’s the mistakes of passiveness and the mistakes of selfishness that we can’t live with.”
He did point to two examples of positive players that have been shining so far. Sixteen-year-old Tyler Ward is a “bright spot” on the team, and Ryan Forbes he said was a great addition.
The Centennials play their next game against the Chilliwack Chiefs this Friday, Sept. 18 right here at the Nicola Valley Arena.
Martin said that in order to win, the Cents will have play harder and smarter than they have been so far.
“At times we’re making a ton of mistakes, that are giving up timely, timely goals.”
He said that while it’s nice they’ve scored the number of goals they have so far this season, they’re going to have to put a priority on minding their own net.