It was maybe a lot closer than the fans thought this game would finish but the Smoke Eaters and Centennials battled hard for 60 minutes with just one goal separating the two teams.
The Smoke Eaters were relentless at times in terms of the pressure they applied to the Centennials, but may be guilty of trying to do to much with the puck and not scoring the goals that maybe they should have tonight. Regardless they got the job done and put 43 shots on the Merritt net in a 2-1 win. They opened the scoring 8:46 into the game as Zach Michaelis scored his team leading eight goal on great setup from line mates Corey Cunningham and Brady Hunter.
The second saw the Smoke Eaters put the pedal to the floor in a constant wave of pressure looking to build open their first period lead. But Keegan Maddocks, who made 41 saves on the night made some of his best in the middle frame. The Smoke Eaters would double their lead inside 6 minutes into the second period as Cam Moger’s point shot got through the crowd and past Maddocks for a 2-0 Trail lead.
Josh Schenk had probably his best game as a Smoke Eater and almost had his first BCHL goal if Maddocks hadn’t robbed him late in the second. The Smoke Eaters were close on many occasions but after this save they stayed ahead by only two heading into the third period.
The Cents then knew their was a chance for some points but they had to work for it. Despite being outshot 15-10 the Centennials got on the board with under five minutes to go in the third as a wrap around from Jerzy Orchard finally beat Evan Fradette to make it a one goal game. Merritt got a few more chances in the closing minutes but the Smoke Eaters would collectively shut the Centennials down and see out the 2-1 victory on home ice.
The Smoke Eaters now await the Alberni Valley Bulldogs who head to Cranbrook before coming back to Trail to play the Smoke Eaters on Saturday night.