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Conference Final | Game 3: Delta Splits Homestand (OT)

Whaler Jayson Beauregard (10) was dangerous all night as Delta goalie Merick Erickson stretches out with his glove. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Pod’s top scorer Ewan Rennie injured

LADNER LEISURE CENTRE – For the first time in the 2022 playoffs, the White Rock Whalers were defeated in sudden-death – a 4-3 heartbreaker in double overtime on Mar. 8.

Delta Ice Hawk Carson Bigras snapped a rebound past Whaler goalie Keegan Maddocks two minutes into the fifth period. The Whalers now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.

Unfortunately, the Pod lost far more than merely the third game of the Shaw Conference Final. Whaler Ewan Rennie, the team’s top goal scorer in the play-offs with six, did not dress for the club. Instead, he sat in the stands with a cast wrapped around one of his wrists.

“We’re not sure exactly what the update is, but I don’t see (Rennie) playing in this series” again, said White Rock head coach Jason Rogers.

Tempers flare, shortened bench

In a complete reversal of fortune from game two, Ice Hawk sniper Dalton MacGillivray scored on the first shot of the game.

After the Whalers confidently killed off defenceman Mat Morison's hooking minor, a major scrum occurred in front of Delta back-up goalie Merick Erickson.

The penalties assessed included four Whalers sent off for roughing and 10-minute misconducts – forwards Hezzy Mbaja, Jacob Dorohoy, Cole Svendson and defenceman Tyler Price.

Whaler Jayson Beauregard puts home his second of the game Mar. 8. “We’re a family. We stick together...that’s just what carrying me on here,” he said. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Regardless of the shortened bench, Whaler Jayson Beauregard forced his way in close and slipped the puck under Erickson for a powerplay marker with eight seconds remaining in the opening frame.

Beauregard, 20, is now playing with urgency every shift, as this playoff run is his last chance for a Pacific Junior Hockey League crown.

“He’s really embracing the opportunity. He’s got a skill – a natural knack – to kind of make things out of nothing,” Rogers pointed out.

Beauregard continued his hot streak into the second period. On his first shift, his masterful backhand deke was denied when Erickson used his glove to snatch the puck.

After Delta captain Alec Scouras beat Maddocks for a 2-1 lead, Beauregard skated into the Ice Hawk end. His lateral criss-cross move fooled a Delta defenceman and the Whaler winger fired a low shot over Erickson’s right pad.

Whaler Chris Fortems (19) glimpses teammate Jayson Beauregard's shot slip past Delta goalie Merick Erickson in the first period on Mar. 8. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

“We’re a family. We stick together and pick (each other) up. That’s just what carrying me on here,” Beauregard said of his linemates.

Both Beauregard and Rogers were satisfied with a split of games two and three in Delta. “It’s tough back-to-back in Delta. It really is,” the winger added.

Maddocks, Newson give Pod a chance

In the third period, the Ice Hawks had a 3-2 lead and were able to return to their bread-and-butter play of long stretch passes to create odd-man rushes.

In a remarkable effort, Maddocks desperately kicked out his pad; the puck trickled to the top of the crease to seasoned sniper MacGillivray.

He curled the puck around Maddocks and shot at what seemed to be a wide-open net. But Whaler defenceman Cam Newson dove to his knees and bravely blocked the chance.

Beauregard puts his stick up to celebrate after Whalers captain Tyler Price (not in photo) beat Erickson with a point shot to tie the game late. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

As time wound down, the puck was swept off the White Rock goal line as the Ice Hawks fans screamed in frustration.

After Maddocks was pulled for an extra attacker, Whalers captain Tyler Price waited for a screen to develop. His wrist shot from the point went under Erickson’s blocker with only 43 seconds to force overtime.

“We’re still very happy” with how the Pod played in game three, Price pointed out. “We’re going to have to be at our best on Saturday.”

Now, the Whalers have time to rest and regroup at practice as the series shifts back to Centennial Arena for game four on Saturday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m.