By Harit Joshi
An aggressive showing by the Merritt Centennials helped them beat the Prince George Spruce Kings for the second time on home ice this season.
The Cents registered a close 4-3 win after goals from Sawyer Prokopetz, Dylan Lariviere, Jaxson Murray and Nathan Taylor at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena on Nov. 18.
Cents Coach Brian Passmore was pleased with the effort.
“We were much better today. We had a great attitude and energy throughout the game. We were good in the power play as well. I told the boys to play with full emotions. So, overall I am quite satisfied with the outcome. There are few minor details that need to be fixed.”
Aggression was on display from the onset, as the Cents took shots at the Kings’ net eight times in the first 10 minutes of the opening period. Such was the Cents’ dominance that the game was largely played in the visiting team’s zone for the most of the first.
A brilliant save by goalie Karlis Mezsargs in the 12th minute was received by a round of applause from the enthusiastic Cents supporters. Although both teams failed to take any advantage when a two-minute penalty was imposed on each side, the Cents soon cashed in on their first opportunity to take the lead when Sawyer Prokopetz found the net after a neat assist from Dylan Wegner just 13 minutes in.
The visitors equalized as soon as the second period kicked off, with Linden Makow clinically finishing the job. The Cents’ attacking style of play was soon rewarded, as Lariviere struck on the powerplay just seconds after Kings had equalized to make it 2-1, Lariviere’s fourth consecutive game with a goal.
Comeback man Murray’s second goal of the weekend then deflated the Kings’ hopes, as the hosts took a 3-1 lead, before the Cents virtually sealed the game with a brilliant effort from Nathan Taylor made it 4-1 late in the middle frame.
The Kings put up a fight with their second goal before the second buzzer, adding a third in the final period to make it a one-goal game and keep Cents fans on their toes.
Despite asserting tremendous pressure in the third period, the Cents managed to hold the fort in the end to emerge victorious.
Merritt returns to action on Nov. 24 in a visit to the West Kelowna Warriors, who the Cents have bested twice already in the month of November.
They return home the following evening to the NVMA to host the Trail Smoke Eaters for a 7:05p.m. puck drop.