Merritt jumped out early for the second straight night, and finished off their regular season with a 5-2 home victory over the Smokies at Nicola Valley Arena.
Payton Schaefer scored his second goal in as many games to open things 2:38 in, taking a Brendan Lamont centring pass for only his sixth goal of the season.
The Cents went up 2-0 on a Brayden Low marker before Brent Baltus put the Smokies on the board on a mid-period power-play. The Nanaimo product whipped home a wrister from the right side for his 15th of the year.
Merritt increased their lead in the opening minute of period two. Reece Willcox jumped in from the left point, carried the puck across the left-wing circle and tucked a shot under James D'Andrea.
Merritt's Evan Stack added his team-leading 32nd of the season later in the frame to give the home side a 4-1 second intermission lead.
Merritt AP Scott Patterson put home his second in as many games to give Merritt a 5-1 lead early in the third, before Kyle Horsman fired home Trail's second goal to round out the scoring.
The Sechelt native gathered a loose puck at the Merritt line, juked around a defenseman and wired home a hot wrister, crossbar and in past Cents 'tender Lino Chimienti.
Trail's PK was a bright spot tonight, parrying the Cents on all five of their power-play opportunities. Erik Cooper was dangerous again as well, and struck iron in the first and third periods.
Up Next: the season finale goes tomorrow evening in Chilliwack. Faceoff is at 5:00.
KIJHL Tonight: Beaver Valley is within one game of the Kootenay Conference championship series after a 5-2 victory in Castlegar Saturday. Smokies AP Craig Martin scored twice. Game 5 of that series goes Monday night in Fruitvale.
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