The Merritt Centennials are back into the playoffs for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

The Cents faced the Salmon Arm Silverbacks over the weekend and are off to a hot start on their playoff journey.

Each team now has a win as the series heads back to Merritt for games three and four on Tuesday, April 9, and Wednesday, April 10. 

Friday, April 5 – Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3, Merritt Centennials 2

The Merritt Centennials hit the ice on April 5 against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for their first game in the seven-game series at Shaw Centre.

The first period saw a very balanced game between both teams, with the Cents shooting 11 times on goal and the Silverbacks shooting 17 times.

Merritt found the back of the net early in the second period with a goal by Michael Felsing (1), who managed to add another goal to the Cents 13:11 into the second period.

Silverbacks rebounded less than five minutes later as Maddux Martin scored one for the home team, decreasing Merritt’s advantage to 2-1.

In the third period, Silverbacks’ Maddux Martin beat the goalie once again, tying the game 2-2.

 As the match needed overtime to decide a winner, fans in Salmon Arm got to watch some free hockey.

Before the Centennials could get a shot on the net in the extra frame, Adam Boatter scored the winning goal for the Silverbacks as the Cents fell 3-2.

Saturday, April 6 – Salmon Arm Silverbacks 2, Merritt Centennials 3

The Silverbacks hosted their second game in the playoff series against the Merritt Centennials this past weekend.

Less than a minute in, Centennials’ Jaxson Murray found the back of the net, showing what they came for early in the game.

Charles-Thomas Larochelle added one more to the Centennials, increasing the advantage to 2-0.

During the second period, Larochelle scored another one for the Cents just under two minutes in. 

Less than a minute later, the Silverbacks closed the margin to 3-1 as Patrick Raftery beat the Cents’ goalie Andrew Ballantyne.

The final period was marked by a goal from the Silverbacks as Isaac Lambert scored the only goal in the period, setting the final score 3-2 for the Centennials.

The Centennials will take Salmon Arm at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena for game three and four. Game time for both games in Merritt is 7 p.m. All rounds are best-of-seven series.

Game five will be played next Friday, April 12, in Salmon Arm.