1. 10 Forgettable Seconds: A, or the defining moment of this game, as the Cents cash-in on two goals in just 10 seconds. Yep 10 seconds. Frustrating sequence for the Vees who had great pressure before the third Merritt goal.
Sebastien Pare put the Cents up 3-1 after he finished a two-on-one rush with a nifty deke. The Vees prior to the goal were pressuring the Cents in their zone and had a couple of chances. But the puck was forced out as the Cents caught the Vees pinching and Pare didn’t waste the opportunity.
Off the ensuing face-off, the puck was thrown in the Vees zone and it eventually ended up on the stick of Regan Soquila in the slot and he too didn’t miss. The Vees were caught off-guard still trying to regroup after the third goal. The body language was telling after the third goal. The Vees looked frustrated, as the had a good five-minute push but only to have the Cents get one opportunity and score. I think that played a role in the fourth goal being scored just 10 seconds after the third.
Anyway you look at, the two goals in 10 seconds let the air out of the Vees balloon so to speak. That’s tough to come back from, however good you may be, and it was too much for the Vees on Friday.
2) Special Teams: Pretty straight forward, the Cents’ were sharp in the special teams department. They scored two power-play goals on four opportunities, both coming at key times. Their penalty was very good to, not allowing the Vees power-play to get into a rhythm.
Their first power-play goal, opened the scoring and early in the second period. Smart but simply play by Tyler Martin to throw the puck on goal and generating a rebound for Regan Soquila. Big for the road team to score early in the second and again grab the lead on the Vees.
Their second power-play goal was a like a kick in the gut for the Vees. They just scored to tie the game and looked like to be on the right track. But the Vees took a penalty on the very next shift and the Cents’ scored quickly on the that power-play. Derek Huisman found himself alone at the top of the crease and scored the Cents’ second power-play goal just 70 seconds after the Vees tied the game. Remember, the Vees had the league’s best home penalty-kill heading into the game. Merritt only had one power-play goal in Penticton this season and that was in a 7-1 loss. The power-play showed up on Friday and came up big.
3) Opportunistic: That’s the word to describe the Cents performance on Friday. They didn’t dominate or really dictate the flow of play. In fact, it was the Vees, not the Cents who controlled large chunks of this game.
Give credit for the Cents’ on not wasting really any scoring chances they had. It seemed like they buried all but one of their grade ‘A’ scoring chances. Just look at the stat line, as they scored five goals on 24 shots; at one point four goals on 20 shots. The Cents were held to 7, 11 and 6 shots in the three periods but it was quality over quantity on Friday. They didn’t come at the Vees in waves, but were good on the fore-check and picked their spots so to speak.I know it sounds cliché but it was a classic road performance for the Cents. They did what they had to do offensively, were given a couple of opportunities and didn’t let them go to waste.
The Vees were right there too when it comes to scoring chances but just couldn’t get it all together. Mike Rebry was robbed a few times by Tyler Steel who had his number all game. Louie Nanne missed an open-net in the second and there was a handful of scrambles just above or around the Merritt crease that never materialized.
Timely scoring, good special teams and strong goaltending will usually get it done on the road or anywhere for that matter. The Cents had a big check mark in all three categories.