Jets Ground Whalers, 3-1

Whalers goalie Keegan Maddocks successfully stared down Chilliwack's Blake Clease on a penalty shot.| Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Pod Lose Two In A Row

MINORU ARENA – After an impressive five-game win streak after Christmas, the red-hot White Rock Whalers have finally come back down to earth with two straight losses.

For the past ten weeks – a remarkable stretch since Nov. 6 – the Whalers had not lost two in a row. But the Chilliwack Jets used an aggressive forecheck for a 3-1 away victory Jan. 17.

The rare Monday night game in Richmond was rescheduled from earlier in the season.

The Jets started on their heels as the Pod pounded 17 shots on Chilliwack goalie Brayden Melnyk in the opening period. But Jet Kolby Koran steered the puck past White Rock netminder Keegan Maddocks on a goal mouth scramble for a 1-0 lead.

In the middle frame, Whaler Ewan Rennie replied on the powerplay as he popped home a rebound from in close.

Whaler goalie Keegan Maddocks takes a look skywards with alternate captain Matt Burry Jan. 17. Maddocks faced 28 Chilliwack shots in a 3-1 loss.| Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Garet Fires Laser

Only 21 seconds into the third, Jet Caleb Garet turned on the afterburners and streaked down the left wing. His hard snapshot beat Maddocks on the far side.

While Maddocks did pressure Chilliwack’s Blake Clease to shoot high on a penalty shot, the Whalers ran out of time.

“We didn’t execute,” said White Rock head coach Jason Rogers. “I think we had four 2-on-1 (chances)…and had nothing to show for” a total of 48 shots.

Sherwin back from Jr. ‘A'

Zach Sherwin, 19, returned to the Whalers after spending a few months with the Jr. ‘A’ Langley Rivermen. The seasoned scorer recorded an assist in 15 games in the higher junior league.

Rogers confirmed that Sherwin would be back with the Pod throughout the rest of the season.

Veteran Whaler Zach Sherwin returned to the Pod from 15 games in Jr. 'A' with the Langley Rivermen.| Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Conference standings: Pod in third place

As we head into the last month of regular season play, it will be a dogfight between the Delta Ice Hawks (48 points); Whalers (22 wins, 13 losses, and a single overtime loss for 45 points); and Richmond Sockeyes (43 points) for the second, third, and fourth play-off spots in the conference.

“We’re a confident group right now,” said Whalers captain Tyler Price. “We’ve played good hockey so far in January and I’m confident we’ll bounce back this weekend.”

Jan. 15: Whalers vs Delta Ice Hawks

In the Pod’s last actual home game – in Centennial Arena – the Delta Ice Hawks scored three straight goals and went on to a 4-2 win on Jan. 15.

In the first period, Delta sniper Dalton MacGillivray notched his twenty-sixth goal of the season on the powerplay. His teammates pressured White Rock goalie Adam Winters in the crease, as Ice Hawks Conner Merriman and Carson Hemenway lit the lamp for a 3-0 lead.

Veteran Whaler Zach Sherwin returned to the Pod from 15 games in Jr. 'A' with the Langley Rivermen.| Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

'Positive’ Winters bears down

Winters grew up playing with – and against – many of the current Ice Hawks. “Being down by three was not ideal,” he acknowledged.

However, Winters wasn’t rattled. A "positive mentality is something I’ve really worked on over the years…I’m happy to say it’s now one of my greatest strengths,” the 18-year-old goalie said.

Thibodeau, Newson connect

Before the end of the second, the Whalers got the Centennial faithful buzzing again when Owen Thibodeau pushed home his second of the year off a feed from veteran Pod winger Chris Fortems.

Another vet, defenceman Cam Newson, scored on the powerplay to put the Pod within reach. The Ice Hawks shot down any hope of a comeback with a late empty-netter.

Winters picked up his first loss of the season while in goal for the Pod. Previously, he had won three straight since being traded from Chilliwack.