A tough stretch of games against some of the BCHL’s top teams landed the Merritt Centennials a loss in their first road game of November.
Following a one-win, one-loss weekend against the West Kelowna Warriors and Penticton Vees last weekend respectively, the Cents had a six-day break before hitting the road on Nov. 10 to face the second-seeded Vernon Vipers at Kal Tire Place.
Hoping to return the favour after a loss in their only previous matchup this season in late October, Merritt instead fell behind early in the first period, with Vernon’s Anthony Cliche and Owen Kim each squeaking one past keeper Karlis Mezsargs to go up 2-0 ten minutes in.
Late in the frame, the Cents found themselves in penalty trouble and with Kiernan Poulin in the box for hooking, the Vipers took a 3-0 lead off the stick of Isaac Tremblay.
The Vipers continued their offensive dominance early in the middle frame with Tremblay adding his second of the game, before Dylan Lariviere was able to break the shutout on the powerplay seven minutes in.
Jaxson Murray added one more for the Cents, also on the powerplay, for a final score of 4-2.
A two point night for Murray earned him third star of the game honours, while Mezsargs made 23 saves in the loss.
The Cents drop to 6-9-2-1 on the BCHL season, good for sixth place in the eight-team Interior division. They face a tough opponent in the West Kelowna Warriors on the road following press time on Nov. 14, before returning to Nicola Valley Memorial Arena over the weekend for back-to-back home games.
Vernon visits the NVMA on Nov. 17, before the Cents host the lowly Prince George Spruce Kings the following evening.
Both puck drops are set for 7:05p.m.