Auld Lang Syne: Pod Sweeps Winter Classic

Ewan Rennie (left) and Bryce Margetson were named the players of the game for their stellar efforts on Jan. 1 and 2. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

‘Happy’ Whalers triumph versus Abbotsford, Mission

MINORU ARENA – The Whalers began 2022 with hearty high-fives from defenceman Bryce Margetson as they stormed to back-to-back victories at the Winter Classic tournament.

Game 1: January 1 | Whalers vs Abbotsford Pilots

Margetson – nicknamed “Batman” for his speedy uniform change after a game misconduct was rescinded before Christmas – played like a superhero.

In a very chilly Minoru Arena, he fought off the villainous freeze and recorded three points in a 5-2 win over the Abbotsford Pilots.

“Thanks to my teammates for…giving me the opportunity to capitalize,” Margetson said. “As long as we get the two points, I’m happy!”

Rennie’s sweet hands

Halfway through the first period, teammate Ewan Rennie put the Pod on the board. He deked to the backhand and tucked the puck behind sprawled out Abbotsford goalie Dawson Chen.

Then, Margetson scored twice – both point shots past a screened Chen – for a 3-0 lead.

‘Big Goal’ one-ups Rennie

After Pilot Austin Moar lit the lamp, Whaler Cole “Big Goal” Svendson emphatically shut the door on a possible Abbotsford comeback.

With 20 seconds left in the second period, Whalers captain Tyler Price spotted a green sweater streaking down the right wing and fired a crisp tape-to-tape pass to a wide-open Svendson.

The winger pulled off a perfect forehand-to-backhand deke and roofed the puck over Chen’s blocker.

“I feel like we definitely have room for improvement,” Svendson commented.

Keegan’s Odyssey

Keegan Maddocks, 18, was in goal for White Rock and faced 19 shots. He originally joined the Whalers in the 2020-2021 season – curtailed by the pandemic – and then returned to the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Victoria Royals.

His odyssey continued: last off-season, Maddocks was traded to the Regina Pats (WHL); Merritt Centennials (BCHL); a month with the Kamloops Blazers (WHL) and now with the Whalers.

Game 2: January 2 | Whalers vs Mission City Outlaws

Less than 24 hours later, the Whalers used a very aggressive penalty kill to frustrate the Mission City Outlaws in a 4-1 win.

When Whaler Jacob Dorohoy went to the box for a four-minute penalty for kneeing, the Outlaws had a golden opportunity with the last line change as the home side.

However, the Whalers controlled the puck and looked like they were on a powerplay instead of Mission.

“Guys are buying in at an important time in the season,” said alternate captain “Butch” La Roue. La Roue, a rugged defenceman, absorbed some heavy checks but consistently steered the Outlaws away from goalie Adam Winters in the White Rock crease.

Away from Centennial, the Pod’s penalty killers have been excellent, with a success rate of 84 per cent. Their improved recovery “back to the middle of the ice has been great,” added White Rock head coach Jason Rogers.

“Heading into play-off time, it’s important your special teams are clicking.”

Beauregard’s back

In the second period, Whaler Jayson Beauregard opened the scoring when he slipped around an Outlaw. From the left wing, he fired a wrister along the ice to beat Mission goalie Brian Dale.

“Jayson is a goal scorer. Coming off an injury, he’s trying to fight his way back into shape,” said White Rock head coach Jason Rogers. “I thought he was really good tonight.”

Beauregard’s effort lit the Pod’s fuse. In the next two minutes, both Ewan Rennie and Jacob Dorohoy tallied.

“We’re happy with our complete effort this weekend,” concluded captain Tyler Price.

🎃 🎃 🎃 Congrats to our Halloween Best Costume Winners at tonight’s home game Win! Thanks to everyone for coming out.