Delta Ice Hawks forward Carson Merriman has gotten used to seeing his name among the PJHL scoring leaders. He recently passed the 100-game mark in the league and has amassed 165 points so far with plenty of season to go and if his current pace holds up, he could reach the 200-point mark before all is said and done.
The PJHL caught with Merriman recently to discuss the success he’s enjoyed playing alongside his twin brother Conner and how the Ice Hawks are staying hungry as they attempt to repeat as league champions.
PJHL: The Ice Hawks have scored a lot of goals the last couple seasons and are second in the league as of Nov. 23. How fun has it been coming to the rink, knowing you and your linemates are going to get good looks at the net?
Carson Merriman: I’ve been super lucky the past couple years to have been on a top team each year. We have always had great structure and great team chemistry helping us be able to make it easier for us to get tons of scoring chances and tons of offensive zone time. We have been a very strong offensive team the past three years and are keeping that up this year.
PJHL: You scored the game-winning goal with five seconds to go in regulation in a Nov. 7 comeback win over North Van. How big a thrill was that goal?
CM: We have been struggling against North Van all year and that game was a tight one from start to finish. We lost to North Van the last two times we have played them. Scoring with five seconds left was a big relief and was huge goal to break our losing streak against the Wolf Pack. They have an unreal goalie and to finally be able to beat him, it was a huge confidence boost for our whole team.
PJHL: That winning goal late in regulation against North Van was one of two on the man advantage and were your first two power-play goals of the season. Do you see more success for yourself on the power-play coming up?
CM: Our power play has had lots of success this year as we have stuck to very similar power play units throughout the start off this season. I have tons of skill around me on the power play helping me be able to make plays and move the puck. Having my first power-play goal against North Van, especially with five seconds left, will hopefully open the flood gates to more success from myself and the rest of the boys on the power play. Our PP units have only gotten better and in the future I can see us having a deadly and scary power play teams will fear.
PJHL: You’ve been able to play the last three seasons with your twin brother Conner. How similar are your games and how have you developed as players with Delta?
CM: I’ve been more than lucky to be able to play beside my brother for the past 15 years. We have created great chemistry together and our games work really well together. We have some similarities in our game, we both have tons of speed, lots of hockey sense and great playmaking skills. We differentiate mostly in our offensive part of our game; Conner has easily one of the best shots in the league, giving him an elite scoring ability coming from the high slot. I find I’m more of a playmaker who loves to control the puck and always have my puck on my stick. Delta has such a great coaching staff and I have been able to work with some high end skills coaches in the past couple years within our organization such as Denis Akimoto and Kaivo. Our head coach Steve also knows how to use Conner and I and has been able to teach us so much and help boost our confidence on and off the ice.
PJHL: Delta has earned a reputation as a high-scoring machine but last season, your team also allowed the fewest goals against in the PJHL. How committed is the group to being as good defensively as on the attack?
CM: We have been committed to playing a very strong two-way game. We have always had strong, smart D-men who have really helped us create a strong structure in the D-zone, leading us to more offensive opportunities.
PJHL: What has been the key for your team in remaining hungry for a title this season, having won the Stonehouse Cup back in March?
CM: We are all very committed and take no days off. Our on- and off-ice chemistry is great; we’re all very tight together. Our biggest key has to be how tight the team is and how well we all work with each other. Hopefully that will be able to bring us back-to-back championships.