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Game Preview: Merritt Centennials

When: Thursday September 22nd @7:30

Where: Prospera Centre (BCHL Bauer Showcase)

Prince George started a fresh season against the Merritt Centennials. The two teams tied, and have since gone in opposite directions.

Following the 2-2 draw with the Cents, the Spruce Kings went 0-4 while being outscored 6-27. The most recent defeat was the roughest coming in the form of a 11-2 loss at the tail end of a three game series with the Wenatchee Wild. The Wild scored four goals in the first eight minutes, and then had a burst in the second scoring five in three minutes (one was waved off).

The Centennials have played just two games since their season opener, but are one of the two undefeated teams in the BCHL as both of their last games have been wins. The goals for/against are a little closer sitting at eight goals for and five against. Both games were against their division rival Trail, with one game being played in each of the cities.

One question mark for Merritt entering the season was their goaltending. Jacob Berger and Colten Lancaster appear to be a double headed monster in the crease though, as they have allowed just 7 goals in three games. Both have save percentages around the .930 mark, and have sub 2.35 GAAs. Prince George stared the season strong in net with Stefan Wornig picking up an honourable mention in his opening weekend for player of the week. The two goalies had a tough series as none of the games saw a netminder play the entire contest. Wornig started Friday and Saturday, while McCloskey started the Wednesday game. Saturday saw Wornig start, get pulled, and then put in again to finish the game.

The Spruce Kings had their first win of the season come last year in the first game of the BCHL Bauer Showcase, and will look to repeat this year. The team has a number of home games to start this season, and can’t afford to be falling behind early. Merritt was worked with a balanced attack, and helped their goalies allowing an average of 33 shots against per game.

The Centennials wills look to keep their undefeated streak alive, and the Spruce Kings will be fighting for their first win in what ought to be an interesting game. Players will have added pressure with the Showcase drawing hundreds of scouts to evaluate the players. Only two Spruce Kings have scholarships secured at this point, so that will mean a lot of hungry players fighting to keep their hockey careers going after junior hockey.