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PJHL Ray Stonehouse Cup | Game 3: Trappers Push Pod To Brink

Whaler Jacob Dorohoy hones his hand-eye coordination during warm-up Mar. 22. He scored a powerplay marker in Game 3, a 3-2 loss for the Whalers. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Whalers have ‘backs against the wall’

SOUTH SURREY ARENA – Down 3-0 in the series for the Pacific Junior ‘B’ Ray Stonehouse Cup, the White Rock Whalers should ponder the exploits of the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.

The ’42 Leafs – still the only National Hockey League team to successfully rally with four straight victories for the Stanley Cup – inspired an entire generation of fans.

Goalie Keegan Maddocks made a series of point-blank saves but was unable to pick up his first postseason win against Langley. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

On a smaller scale, the Whalers have the same historic opportunity to do the unthinkable, the highly improbable, but not wholly impossible feat of a comeback for the ages.

The latest obstacle popped up when the Langley Trappers defeated the Whalers 3-2 in Game 3 Mar. 22. The Trappers only need one more victory to capture the Stonehouse Cup.

The Whalers had the “momentum to get the job done, but we just couldn’t finish it,” said Zac Sherwin, who contributed two assists. He leads the league in postseason points with 22.

Sherwin gave three short thoughts about the rest of the series: White Rock has their “backs against the wall – leave everything on the ice – just take it game by game.”

Trappers strike early again

For the second game in a row, the Trappers caught the Whalers off-guard directly after the opening face-off. A mere nine seconds in, Langley’s Hayden Yahn was able to force his way to the White Rock crease and score on the first shot on goal.

Ten minutes later, Whaler goalie Keegan Maddocks redeemed himself as he stretched his pads and then glove out to rob three point-blank chances. The netminder only faced 19 shots but at least 10 of those were from 10 feet out or closer.

Inexplicably, the second period face-off led to a Langley goal as well. The Trappers were able to foray into the Pod’s zone and cause considerable pressure. Nick Cormack notched his fourth of the postseason for a 2-0 lead.

Jacob Dorohoy and Jayson Beauregard both tallied in Game 3. Beauregard now leads the entire PJHL in playoff goals (11). | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Beauregard makes time

As time wound down in the second, Cormack went to the box for a cross-check. And the Whalers expended all their energy on the man advantage.

Langley goalie Taje Gill turned aside numerous close calls. But Zac Sherwin’s pass deflected off a Trapper stick to White Rock winger Jayson Beauregard in the slot.

His powerplay teammates, Whalers on the bench, plus fans screamed – “SHOOT!” – and Beauregard put all of his strength into a whale of a shot.

He snapped the puck past an outstretched Gill with only six-tenths of a second remaining on the clock for his league-leading 11th of the playoffs, to raise an enormous cheer from the Whaler faithful.

Dorohoy gets greasy

Five minutes into the third period, Whaler Chris Fortems outworked the Trapper defenders and made a pass to the crease, where Jacob Dorohoy put home a rebound on the powerplay to tie Game 3 at 2-2.

When it looked certain that sudden-death loomed, Hezzy Mbaja was sent off for clipping – a rare call – for a hit below the knees.

Maddocks was sharp and made two saves in a row. But the third rebound came directly to Langley’s Lleyton Shearon who wristed the game-winner from the side of the crease.

At the other end, Gill emphatically shut the door with his glove with two seconds left. He faced 37 shots for his ninth postseason win and hasn’t lost yet in the 2022 playoffs.

White Rock head coach Jason Rogers said that his team had to “stop feeling sorry” for themselves and “just work a little bit harder” to generate more offence.

“We’re not thinking about anything other than that first win” of the series, he added.

And the band played on

Whalers captain Tyler Price said that the mood in the dressing room was one of common determination. “We are very far from being out” of the series and “more than capable of coming back.”

“I know that everyone in that room is going to play as hard as they can for the guy next to him.”

Rookie Whaler defenceman Caleb Cruz (4, middle) receives a hug from Bryce Margetson (7) after Cruz scored from the point. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Game 4 of the Ray Stonehouse Cup is this Saturday, March 26th at 7 p.m. in South Surrey Arena (2199 148 St.)

Also, this Saturday is the Whalers Support Ukraine Night. We’re fundraising for Ukrainian charities (the Maple Hope Foundation) and the local Ukrainian Catholic church (sheltering refugees who fled Ukraine).

Please be generous and donate to this worthy cause! Our volunteers will sell homemade Ukrainian flags and other gifts.