A quick line from Kelowna before calling it a night..
The Centennials scored in the first minute, and put more than 40 pucks at Lyndon Stanwood in a 3-0 shutout win tonight in Merritt.
Tyler Steel made 27 saves to collect the goose-egg, leaving the Smokies without a point to show for their three-game trip, and at the same time securing Merritt's first victory against Trail.
The opening goal was the result of some hard work from Silvan Harper, who made his way from the left-wing corner to the side of the net before a streaking Brandon Pfeil came through the slot and fired home a rebound.
Pfeil would factor in the second goal too. After Trail was caught with too many men, his point shot was deflected in by Merritt captain Evan Stack at 6:40 of the middle frame.
Veteran Chad Brears rounded out the scoring with an empty-netter.
The game featured some heavy hits, and a spirited bout between Adam Wheeldon and Sean Maktaak at centre-ice 10 seconds into the third.
The difference, from my angle was Merritt's ability to have sustained pressure in the Smokies' zone, exhausting an already short bench. The Cents have a few undersized, shifty forwards (Dustin Lebrun and Brendan Lamont come to mind) that are buzzsaws on the puck and can take a hit. I thought Garrett McMullen and Connor Tiechko both showed a fair amount of pace for Trail, who were knocked down to 15 skaters when Shane Poulsen and Luke Bertolucci left in the second period.
Up Next: two more games before the holiday break, beginning Friday night at Vernon.
KIJHL Tonight: Anthony Delong had 6 points in Castlegar's 10-1 win over Summerland. Montrose's Alex Ross surprisingly did not start in goal against his former club. Osoyoos shut out Grand Forks 11-0.
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.