3 goals in 54 seconds in the third period by the Merritt Centennials snagged victory away from the Coquitlam Express by a 5-2 score in the season opening game at the Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.
The game started well for the Express. They came close to opening the scoring just 25 seconds into game. Newly named captain Ryan Rosenthal set up Joey Santucci on a 2 on 1. Santucci unfortunately fannned on his shot or the Express would have gotten the early lead in the contest.
The Express did break through 7 minutes into the game following some good work along the end boards and the puck eventually came out Nicolas Dasovic and he snapped it home to open the scoring.
Santucci and Rosenthal had another great chance but couldn't find a way to bury the puck at the lip of the Merritt crease past Russell Sanderson.
Merritt opened the second period with a powerplay. With the man advantage they would pull even. Scott Paterson in the slot made a quick turn and fired a shot over the shoulder of Pierce Dushenko just 52 seconds into the period.
In the third period the Express took the lead for the second time in the contest.
Daniell Lange from the corner would fire the puck towards the net, it found a hole on Russell Sanderson and bounced in to restore the Express lead at 2-1.
Moments later the Express had a chance to put the game away. They had a 5 on 3 powerplay for 52 seconds. They called their time out, but couldn't take advantage of the opportunity. The Express finished the game 0 for 5 on the powerplay.
Then the game turned in a real quick hurry.
Payton Schaefer who had two good scoring chances from the slot and couldn't score earlier in the period, found a loose puck at the side of the net and tapped it home after Sebastien Pare powered it to the net.
That was followed 20 second later by a shot from the point by Tyler Martin that hit an Express defender, changed directions and found the back of the net. Then 34 seconds after that Daniel Nachbaur re-directed a Rhett Wilcox point shot to put the Cents up a pair at 4-2. When the dust settled Merritt had scored 3 goals in 54 seconds.
Schaefer put the game away in the final minute scoring his second of the period into an empty net.
Nicolas Rasovic and Daniel Lange each finished with a goal and an assist in the losing cause.
The Express will look for their first win of the season in their second game at the Bauer BCHL Showcase Sunday morning at 11am vs. the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.