A promising start was quickly erased as Merritt celebrated its 40th anniversary with a 6-2 win over the Smokies at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
Trail captain Garrett McMullen put the visitors ahead within 90 seconds, intercepting a long pass in neutral ice, then slapping a puck past Cents starter Tyler Steel for his fourth goal in as many games.
Merritt struck back quickly on a power-play, as Dane Birks wristed one over the shoulder of Lyndon Stanwood at 5:17, before Bennett Huber put the home team ahead 4:05 later.
The Centennials would break the game open in period two with two goals in a 34-second span. Derek Huisman was set up alone in the slot on the power-play for his first in a Merritt sweater, before Silvan Harper put home a rebound off a Birks point shot to extend Merritt's lead to 4-1.
Birks would add a second goal on a third-period power-play, before Trail's Brandon Egli and Cents forward Brendan Lamont traded goals to round out the scoring.
Discipline again reared its ugly head for Trail, as the Smokies were short-handed 8 times, surrendering 3 power-play goals. As was the case last night, McMullen and linemate Brent Baltus were workhorses at both ends of the ice, with new acquisition Connor Collett also adding his first BCHL point on Egli's goal.
My 3 Stars:
1. Dane Birks, Merritt
2. Derek Huisman, Merritt
3. Regan Soquila, Merritt
Up Next: At long last, Trail will play its home opener Friday, September 21st against the West Kelowna Warriors. Gametime is 7:30.
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