Month: October 2009

Cents add Wall, Recap vs. Vipers:

The Cents have added G Riley Wall (89) as an affiliate player for tonight’s game in Penticton.

Wall has played the last two seasons in the KIJHL, one with the Chase Chiefs and one with the Sicamous Eagles. In 71 career starts, the Kamloops product has a record of 35-34 and a 3.31 GAA.

At this point, I don’t know if Wall will get the start tonight or if he’ll back up Cole Holowenko, who dressed last night as the back-up to Cameron Dagg. I also don’t know if this means Dagg is on his way back to Columbia Valley or if he’ll be dressed tonight. Either way, the Centennials face another outing where they’ll have an affiliate goaltender as either the starter or the back-up as both Keith Hamilton and Holowenko recover from injury/illness.


As for last night’s game against Vernon, knowing how sick the Centennials were heading into the game (and still might be right now, they put up a very strong effort all things considered. If not for two sets of quick goals in the first period to give the Vipers a 4-0 lead, this game could have had a much closer result. The Cents and Vernon had a tied second period as each team scored just one goal and in a wild third period the goals were 5-3.

There a lot of positives for the Cents coming out of the game as they are the first team this season to score more than three goals against the Vipers in any game and also the first team to post more than 29 shots against the Vipers.

Here’s the recap of the game from

Merritt, BC – October 30, 2009

Mike Collins scored twice and added an assist as the Vernon Vipers topped the flu-ridden Merritt Centennials 10-4 in BC Hockey League action at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena Friday night.

Dylan Walchuk and Cole Ikkala scored twice, Darrin Robak, Rob Short, and Nick Amies also tallied for the Vipers (17-1-0-0).

Dustin Johnson had two goals for Merritt (6-11-0-1). Alex Valenti and Mitch Jones also added goals.

Affiliate player Cameron Dagg made 29 saves for the Centennials while Vernon netminder Blake Voth stopped 27 shots.

Merritt went 1-for-3 on the power play while the Vipers went 1-for-4. The game marked the first time this season any team has scored more than three goals on Vernon.

The Centennials return to the ice for a Halloween match-up Saturday night in Penticton while the Vipers are off until they head to Salmon Arm on Tuesday.


Sorry I wasn’t able to get a Tale of the Tape posted yesterday, but vipersdiehadfan has both a great preview and recap of the game on his blog.

I’ll try to get a Tale of the Tape posted for tonight and tomorrow afternoon’s games, but no guarantees.

Merritt & Vernon WILL play:

I received word from Centennials GM Tyler Forsythe this evening that tomorrow’s game between Merritt and Vernon will go ahead as scheduled at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. 17 Cents players have been on antibiotics since yesterday and Tyler told me that a number of them have made significant improvements in their health and although not close to 100%, they will be able to play against the Vipers. Despite that, Merritt will have two additional affiliate players in their lineup.

“Tale of the Tape” will be posted tomorrow.

Merritt vs. Vernon in jeopardy:

First off, I have heard the rumours about tomorrow’s game between the Cents and Vipers being postponed and there is a very real chance that could happen. A number of the Centennials players are very sick and pretty much the entire team went to the doctor’s yesterday to be checked out. I can’t confirm it, but have also heard that a number of Vipers players are sick as well. I would hope that the league would keep the best interest of the players in mind here and reschedule this game for later in the season if neither team has a lineup healthy enough to play. The health and well-being of all involved is much more important than wins or losses.

I had the chance to speak with Cents head coach Dylan Forsythe prior to practice today. Here’s what he had to say:

Cents Head Coach Dylan Forsythe
Click here to download

All audio property of Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.

I’ll have the usual “Tale of the Tape” posted tomorrow.

Cents @ Salmon Arm 10-28-09:

Here’s the recap of last night’s 10-2 loss from

Salmon Arm, BC – October 27, 2009

Josh Manson had a goal and four assists and seven different Salmon Arm players scored as the Silverbacks routed the Merritt Centennials 10-2 in BC Hockey League action Tuesday night at the Sunwave Centre.

Rick Soo, Travis Statchuk and Matt Cassidy each scored a pair of goals for the Silverbacks (11-6-1-1) while Corey Chakeen, Mark Zengerle and David Killip added singles in the decisive victory. Zengerle also had three assists while Tyler Gubb and Devin Gannon each chipped in with a pair of helpers.

Alex Valenti and Stephen Wall each scored for Merritt (6-10-0-1). Ryne Bodger assisted on both of the Centennials markers.

Tony Ierfino made 18 saves for Salmon Arm.

Cents goaltender Keith Hamilton was pulled after allowing three goals on 15 shots in the first period. Affiliate goalie Cameron Dagg made 25 saves on 32 shots in relief.

Merritt returns to the ice to kick-off a three game weekend Friday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena against the Vernon Vipers. Salmon Arm’s next game is on the road Friday in West Kelowna against the Westside Warriors.

Tale of the Tape: Merritt @ Salmon Arm 10-27-09

October 27, 2009 7:00PM at Sunwave Centre

STANDINGS: 6th in the Interior Conference (6-9-0-1, 13 pts)
LAST TEN: 4-5-0-1
GOALS PER GAME: 3.50 (T-5th)
PP%: 25.37 (4th)
PK%: 66.32 (17th)

STANDINGS: 4th in the Interior Conference (10-6-1-1, 22 pts)
LAST TEN: 7-3-0-0
STREAK: Lost 1
GOALS PER GAME: 3.80 (4th)
PP%: 26.42 (3rd)
PK%: 81.45 (9th)

GOALS: Dustin Johnson (10)
ASSISTS: Andrew Pickering (10)
POINTS: Dustin Johnson, Andrew Pickering, Colton Sobchak (13)
PIM: Joey McEwan (57)
WINS: Keith Hamilton (3)
GAA: Cole Holowenko (5.69)

GOALS: David Killip (14)
ASSISTS: Mark Zengerle (27)
POINTS: Mark Zengerle (38)
PIM: Jayson Reardon (49)
WINS: Tony Ierfino (9)
GAA: Tony Ierfino (3.43)

Dustin Johnson: 7-1-8 totals in last 5gp
Jeff Jones: 2-4-6 totals in last 4gp
Andrew Pickering: 1-8-9 totals in last 6gp
Alex Valenti: 0-4-4 totals in last 4gp
Derek Hills: 4-3-7 totals in last 3gp
Steve Tresierra: 0-4-4 totals in last 4gp
Matt Mazzarolo: 3-1-4 totals in last 2gp

Mark Zengerle: 0-7-7 totals in last 5gp
Greg Noyes: 3-1-4 totals in last 3gp

Jordan Soquila: 2-1-3 totals in last 6gp
David Sabey: 1-1-2 totals in last 5gp
Ryne Bodger: 0-1-1 totals in last 7gp
Silvan Harper: 0-1-1 totals in last 5gp
Steve Wall: 0-1-1 totals in last 5gp

Travis Statchuk: 0-2-2 totals in last 4gp
David Killip: 0-1-1 totals in last 4gp
Tyler Gubb: 1-0-1 totals in last 7gp
Corey Chakeen: 1-2-3 totals in last 9gp

10/21/09 @ Vernon 7-2 LOSS
10/23/09 vs. Quesnel 7-5 WIN
10/24/09 vs. Trail 8-5 WIN
10/30/09 vs. Vernon
10/31/09 @ Penticton

10/18/09 @ Cowichan Valley 5-2 LOSS
10/20/09 vs. Powell River 2-1 WIN
10/23/09 @ Trail 7-1 LOSS
10/30/09 @ Westside
10/31/09 vs. Westside

10/03/09 Merritt vs. Salmon Arm 7-3 LOSS

* The Cents are 10-26-0-7 in the last six seasons against Salmon Arm (including playoffs) with a 6-11-0-4 record at home and a 4-15-0-3 record on the road during that span.

* Merritt was 0-6 in 2008-09 and is winless in sixteen straight against the Backs, including nine straight at the Sunwave Centre.

* The last time Merritt defeated Salmon Arm was almost three years ago, on November 28, 2006. That night, Nick Sciangula had two goals and two assists to pace the Cents to a wild 8-6 win at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. In that game, both Nick Kang and Jordan Zalba had three points while Patrick Rogan, Blake O’Connor, Tyler Halliday and Stephen Cavanagh each notched two points. Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Mike Naito, Riley Loyst, Jeff Taylor, Wade MacLeod and Jarett Costello each had a single point while Brad McInnis made 36 saves in the win.

* The Centennials and Silverbacks have met once in the last six seasons in the playoffs. In the 2005 first round, the Backs dominated the Cents in defeating them in five games. Salmon Arm outscored Merritt 30-10 in the series.

* The Centennals and Silverbacks haven’t been frequent trading partners over the years, in fact they’ve only made one deal in last six seasons:

10-Jan-08 The Salmon Arm SilverBacks of the BCHL tranfer the playing rights of Graeme Gordon (89) (G) to the Merritt Centennials of the BCHL in exchange for future considerations.

I had the chance to speak with Centennials head coach Dylan Forsythe prior to Monday’s practice regarding Tuesday’s game in Salmon Arm.

Cents Head Coach Dylan Forsythe
Click here to download

All audio property of Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.

Hills Named BCHL Player of the Week:

(BCHL Player of the Week Derek Hills)

I had the chance to chat with Cents forward/defenceman Derek Hills before practice today regarding being named BCHL Player of the Week.

Cents forward/defenceman Derek Hills
Click here to download

All audio property of Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.


Merritt, BC – October 26, 2009

Merritt Centennials defenceman Derek Hill, who’s also played forward at times this season, has been named the BC Hockey League’s Player of the Week, the league announced Monday.

Hills scored four goals and added three assists in three games for the Cents. On Wednesday, the Campbell River product scored one of Merritt’s two goals in the Cents 7-2 loss in Vernon. Two nights later, he scored twice, including the winner, and assisted once in a wild win over the visiting Quesnel Millionaires to earn first star honors. And Hills closed out the weekend with a goal and two assists in his team’s 8-5 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters.

The 18-year-old now leads all Centennials defenceman in scoring with six goals and five assists in 16 games played. Hills tallied two goals and five points last season as a rookie in the BCHL with Powell River.

Merritt currently sits sixth in the Interior Conference with a record of six wins, nine losses and one overtime loss. The Cents are one point behind the fifth place Prince George Spruce Kings with two games in hand.

The Centennials return to the ice on Tuesday when they visit the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.


Merritt Centennials defenceman Derek Hills has been named the British Columbia Hockey League’s Player of the Week for the week ending October 25th, the league announced Monday.

Hills began the week with a goal in a loss to the Vernon Vipers. He then busted out in a pair of home ice wins, first scoring twice and adding an assist in a 7-5 victory over the Quesnel Millionaires. The 18-year old scored the winner with less than six minutes remaining in regulation against the Millionaires and was named the game’s first star. He put up another three points on Saturday in an 8-5 win over Trail, this time scoring once and adding two assists.

He finished the week with seven points on three goals and four assists.

Hills’ offensive output during the week more than doubled his point total, as he now leads all Centennials blueliners in scoring with 11 points in 16 games. His six goals have him in a tie for second amongst BCHL defencemen, trailing only Salmon Arm’s Greg Noyes (7).

Hills and his teammates return to the ice on Tuesday when they face Noyes and the SilverBacks at the Sunwave Centre at 7:00 PM.

Cents vs. Trail 10-24-09:


Merritt, BC – October 24, 2009

The Merritt Centennials scored twice in the first period and three more times in each of the second and third periods on their way to an 8-5 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters in BC Hockey League action Saturday at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.

Dustin Johnson had four goals, Andrew Pickering had four assists, Jeff Jones notched a goal and three assists while Matt Mazzarolo scored twice for the Centennials (6-9-0-1). Derek Hills added a single goal, his fourth in four games, and two assists in the win. Hills also now has seven points in his last three games. Mazzarolo now has three goals in his last two games.

Ben Matthews, Nick Sandor, Darnell Dyck, Sam Mellor and Scott Jacklin replied for the Smoke Eaters (4-13-1-1).

Keith Hamilton made 27 saves to pick up the win for Merritt, while Kiefer Smiley allowed seven of the eight goals on 45 shots in defeat for Trail.

The Centennials were 0-for-3 on the power play, but scored two shorthanded goals. The Smoke Eaters went 0-for-6 with the man advantage, scoring all five goals at even strength.

Merritt leapfrogs Quesnel into sixth in the Interior Conference. Both the Cents and Millionaires have the same number of points, but Merritt has one more win and a game in hand.

The Centennials next game is Tuesday in Salmon Arm as they look for their first road win off the season. Trail hits the road for their next game as they visit Williams Lake.