Conference Final Gm. 5: Thanks For The Memories!

Whalers Jacob Dorohoy (18, far left), Zach Sherwin (16), David Moody (middle), and Dylan Travis (right) exchange handshakes with the victorious Delta Ice Hawks March 16. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns/White Rock Whalers.

Delta Ice Hawks oust Whalers in fifth game

LADNER LEISURE CENTRE – To paraphrase Kipling: Whalers captain Chris Fortems met with Triumph and Disaster. And he treated those two impostors just the same in the ultimate act of sportsmanship.

Red-eyed from tears shed for the agony of defeat, Fortems, 20, gave a mighty exhale in the hallway after the final horn sounded on his brilliant junior career March 16.

With an impassioned voice, Fortems displayed exactly why he was chosen to wear the ‘C’ for the 2022-2023 season.

“So many memories! Just every memory. Last year, going to the finals – even this year, losing – still a great memory with all the guys,” he exclaimed.

“We came up short, which is tough. But the boys competed pretty hard, all the way through. We got a huge ‘W’ to push us to Game 5 – which [Delta] didn’t think we were going to get. But we knew we wanted to play another game. So the boys fought hard. We did the best we could do.”

Injured Whaler Jacob Dorohoy provided a gritty effort. "I'm incredibly proud," head coach Jason Rogers said. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns/White Rock Whalers.

Whaler Zach Sherwin battled but couldn't score as Ice Hawk defenceman Caelan Mander and goalie Zach Shaughnessy defend. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns/White Rock Whalers.

The captain had a record-setting season that provided exhilaration for the faithful in Centennial Arena.

A Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) scoring title with 93 points; a third of the league’s most dominant line from October 2022 onwards with centreman Zach Sherwin and “Big Goal” Cole Svendson; one hundred regular season games played for the club; a fierce competitor.

Unfortunately, it’s all over for him and the Pod.

Meet the new boss

The Delta Ice Hawks had to wait a year. However, they finally got their revenge and ousted the Whalers, the defending Tom Shaw Conference champions, in Game 5 of the conference final on March 16.

Game 5 was a bitter contest. Plenty of penalties, scrums and harsh words exchanged.

After veteran Whaler Jacob Dorohoy scored on the man advantage for a 1-0 lead and Ice Hawk Colin Jang responded to tie the game; Delta took full advantage of their own power play time.

With Whaler Braydon Clark in the box for consecutive minors, Delta struck twice. Carson Merriman – with a point shot through traffic – and Carson Hemenway’s one-timer from the right face-off circle put the Ice Hawks up 3-1 halfway through the middle frame.

Then, Whaler defenceman Dylan Travis sat for a slash. Again, the Ice Hawks used their superior skating and wore down the White Rock penalty killers.

Delta’s Brayden Sinclair finished off a slick pass from Yuji Akimoto and that fourth goal snuffed out any chance of a miraculous comeback.

White Rock netminder Mark Paton made a valiant effort. He faced 58 shots and even denied Ice Hawk Alex Lucchesi’s breakaway chances – a point-blank snapshot and rebound – on the glove side.

The Ice Hawks will now represent the conference against the Ridge Meadows Flames, the Harold Brittain conference champions, in the 2023 league final.

‘Every day is a favourite memory’: Margetson

Late in the third, Whaler defenceman Bryce Margetson’s temper boiled over and he received a game misconduct.

After two postseason hat tricks, Whaler "Big Goal" Cole Svendson was held off the Game 5 scoresheet. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns/White Rock Whalers.

The beating heart of the team, Margetson bled the Whaler colours of green and white. He also ended his junior career on March 16.

“Every day is a favourite memory just coming to the rink,” Margetson said. “Our end goal was to take it all the way but it couldn’t be done…got to be proud of what we accomplished.”

Dorohoy's shoes to fill

Meanwhile, head coach Jason Rogers reflected on the courageous effort of his banged-up players, including Dylan Travis, fellow defenceman Cam Newson and Jacob Dorohoy. All three laced up after the grind of a 48-game regular season.

“I’m very proud of those guys,” Rogers commented. The playoffs are a “real, real battle and it’s a real grind.”

In 2022-23, the Whalers set records for wins (30) and points (62). "These are all real positives," coach Jason Rogers sanguinely reflected. | Photo courtesy of David Stevens Photography.

The indelible memory of older teammates skating through pain will hopefully inspire the younger Whalers to “take the lead next year and understand how much harder it is you have to work” in the postseason, Rogers added.

Speaking of next year…

Rogers and his staff will have a number of off-season issues to address. The loss of numerous 20-year-olds, including his top line of Fortems, Sherwin and Svendson, along with veteran blue liners Margetson and Cam Newson.

In goal, the Whalers should have their tandem return with Mark Paton and Evan Paul, who brought confidence and plenty of wins between the pipes. Next season, both netminders will have one last shot at PJHL glory.

The Whalers will be “pretty good in net,” Rogers concluded. “That’s a real positive.”

Editor’s note

Fans, thank you for our support throughout this season. We hope you’ve enjoyed these articles, photos and audio interviews that gave you a glimpse behind the curtain.

Look forward to seeing you again in the fall. Go Pod go!

POST GAME AUDIO with Coach Rogers, Fortems and Margetson

White Rock head coach Jason Rogers said Chris Fortems was the "natural pick" to lead the Pod and wear the 'C' this season.

"The boys fought hard. We did the best we could," captain Chris Fortems said.

The Whalers became "best friends. I couldn't ask for a better experience in my junior hockey" career, Whaler alternate captain Bryce Margetson reflected.

NEXT UP | Playoffs |
Tom Shaw Conference Final

Game 5 | Thursday, Mar. 16th | 7:30 p.m.
Whalers travel to Delta to take on the Ice Hawks.

Ladner Leisure Centre

Game 6 *If necessary | Saturday, Mar. 18th | 5:00 pm
Whalers host the Delta Ice Hawks.

South Surrey Arena

Game 7 *If necessary | Tuesday, Mar. 21st | 7:30 p.m.
Whalers travel to Delta to take on the Ice Hawks.

Sungod Arena

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