Whaler Jayson Beauregard watches the puck deflect off his stick as Trapper goalie Taje Gill breathes a sigh of relief. | Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of David Stevens Photography.
‘Big Goal’ Cole Svendson scores twice in loss
GEORGE PRESTON REC CENTRE – For 58 minutes, the White Rock Whalers had played an almost flawless first game for a championship final. But then the Langley Trappers woke up.
Trapper Austin Moar’s slapshot from 40 feet out beat Whaler goalie Keegan Maddocks to tie the game at 2-2. And four minutes into overtime, Langley’s Cody Bathgate took advantage of a poor White Rock line change to cut in and end Game 1.
The 3-2 sudden-death result means that the Trappers lead the Whalers 1-0 in the best-of-seven final.
For the Pod, this loss stung. This was an excellent opportunity to set the tone for the championship final.
The Trappers looked sleepy in the first period and began to string consistent shifts together after Whaler Hezzy Mbaja went off for his second hooking minor of the night.
After the penalty expired, Moar’s first goal of the game – an expert deflection – occurred before the end of the second period.
Whaler Zac Sherwin (middle) celebrates teammate Cole Svendson's (not pictured) second period goal that put the Pod up 1-0. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.
White Rock head coach Jason Rogers said that those few minutes shifted momentum from White Rock and Langley was the “better team from that point on. They got their goal and then we kind of struggled.”
“This is playoff hockey. The margin for error is very limited,” Rogers added.
Maddocks gave another superb effort between the pipes with 32 saves and a number of diving stops.
‘Big’ Goal gets down to business
A few minutes after the opening face-off, Whaler winger Zac Sherwin used his on-ice intelligence to strip a Trapper defenceman of the puck. But Langley goalie Taje Gill turned aside the chance.
Whaler Jayson Beauregard (10) battles with Trapper defenceman Evan Clare Mar. 18. Beauregard had an assist in the 3-2 loss. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.
Meanwhile, Trapper Lleyton Shearon had a golden opportunity when he streaked in on a shorthanded breakaway but Maddocks expertly kicked out Shearon’s forehand deke.
The Whalers lit the lamp on a powerplay in the middle frame. Winger Jayson Beauregard made a cross-crease pass to Cole Svendson, who one-timed the puck past Gill for a 1-0 lead.
Svendson – or “Big Goal” Cole – a nickname bestowed after his breakout rookie season, looked dangerous all night.
“I would expect (Cole) to go off on a bit of a tear here,” Rogers hopefully predicted. “The timing’s fantastic – we’re in the league final.”
Whaler Zac Sherwin (16) crashes the net in overtime as Trapper goalie Taje Gill tracks the puck in his crease. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.
A mere 12 seconds into the third, Svendson slipped in his second goal of the night when he crashed the crease.
“I thought it was a great effort by the team,” Svendson said. He lamented that the Whalers did not “bear down” as time ticked down and the Trappers mounted a comeback.
“That’s disappointing – the last goal. We’ll come back harder next game,” he predicted. After all, the Whalers were able to do so in the conference final against the Delta Ice Hawks.
“We’ve got to do the same thing here.”
Round Three | Game 1 | Post-Game with Coach Rogers
Whaler Zac Sherwin tries to deflect a rolling puck past Trapper goalie Taje Gill in the first period on March 18. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.
Round Three | Game 1 | Interview with No. 62 Cole Svendson
Game 2 of the PJHL Ray Stonehouse Cup is at the George Preston Rec Centre on Sunday, March 20 at 2:30 p.m.