Christmas came early for the Merritt Centennials, who will sleep soundly heading into the holiday break while riding a two-game winning streak.

The Cents returned to Nicola Valley Memorial Arena after a two-week home hiatus on Dec. 16 to host the Nanaimo Clippers, the first meeting of the season between the two.

Forward Michael Felsing continued his torrid scoring pace early in the opening frame, sending his ninth goal of the year past Clippers goaltender Tyler Hodges less than five minutes in.

Charles-Thomas Larochelle took advantage of a Nanaimo high-sticking call before the end of the period to double the lead heading into the second.

Mike Murtagh was finally able to best Cents keeper Andrew Ballantyne six minutes into the second, with the home side holding onto the 2-1 lead going into the final 20 minutes.

The two-goal lead was restored just 20 seconds into the third when Felsing notched his tenth on the season, his first multi-goal performance.

Murtagh added another shortly after for Nanaimo, but it was as close as they got to the comeback, with the Cents taking it 3-2.

Felsing was named first star of the game for his efforts, while Ballantyne’s 38 saves earned him second.

Four points in a row has the Cents nearing the .500 mark on the season with a record of 11-13-3-1, good for seventh in the BCHL’s Interior Conference, though they sit just one point back of the Cranbrook Bucks and two back of the Trail Smoke Eaters.

With the holiday break now in full swing, the Cents are back in action on the road on Dec. 29 to visit the Surrey Eagles, before closing out the calendar with an afternoon matinee at home on New Year’s Eve against the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Puck drop on Dec. 31 is set for 2p.m. at the NVMA.