The Merritt Centennials have not been shy of making trades these last few weeks, as they have picked up points in three of their last four contests. In November, the team has made each game come down to the wire showing the fight that is needed during the BCHL season.
Merritt is hoping the deals continue to push it to get back on its feet and bring the needed size and experience to swing the close games in the Cents’ favour.
Merritt started the flurry of trades by sending defenseman Troy Quinn to the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League on November 3. Quinn, a Nepean, Ontario native, most notably scored the goal that ended the 60-plus power play goalless drought for the Cents in a 6-4 loss to Wenatchee on November 2. Merritt received future considerations and the junior A rights to Lake Forest College (NCAA Div. III) defenceman Vaughan Bamford in return.
The Nicola Valley team kept their sights in Saskatchewan, bringing in forward Hunor Torzsok the same day it dealt Quinn to Flin Flon. Torzsok comes over from the Estevan Bruins of the SJHL. Before playing in Saskatchewan, his career saw him play for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League in 37 games over the last four seasons. The 6’2″, 195 lbs. forward also played 36 games for the Nanaimo Clippers from 2017-19.
Above all else, his heart and ability to fight for the puck is needed help for Merritt. His size makes life tough for Torzsok’s opponents.
Throughout the first third of the season, as the Cents continue to find a rhythm, being a handful of games under .500. More changes were to come. Merritt went out and traded one of the centerpieces of the club, Brett Roloson to Powell River for Christian Buono and future considerations.
Roloson, carrying 16 points through 19 games in his second season, was Merritt’s second-highest point producer. His speed on the wing made him a deadly threat every time he had the puck.
The Centennials receive veteran forward Buono in the deal. Known as a jack of all trades, he comes in as potential spark plug for the team. Buono has 14 points in 21 games this season for Powell River with 13 of those points being assists.
The interim coach tag was removed for Derek-Sweet Coulter as he will be the Centennials bench boss for the foreseeable future. Taking over in October, the wins haven’t fallen the Cents way just yet, but the team has shown heart-fighting and battling in every game under the new boss. The team came up huge against Salmon Arm, which is one of the BCHL’s top teams this season, getting three points in a home and home series a week ago.
— Merritt Centennials (@BCHLCentennials) November 15, 2019
With the road-heavy first half of November over, Merritt gets ready for four of the next five at home to end the month. This stretch could be what the Cents need to start the climb up the standings.