Playoffs Game 2: Wolf Pack Strike Back

White Rock goalie Keegan Maddocks leads in warm-up. He faced 23 shots and made saves on three breakaways during his first play-off loss for the Pod. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

HARRY JEROME ARENA – While the Whalers were masterful in the opening game of this quarter-final series, they were equally frustrated in the second game Feb. 19.

White Rock gave up far too many odd-man rushes and the North Vancouver Wolf Pack converted on three of those opportunities for a 3-2 victory. This result means that the series is tied at one game apiece.

“It’s a best-of-five now. We expected (North Van) to be good – at home – with a little more urgency,” said White Rock head coach Jason Rogers.

Both teams went 0-for-5 on the powerplay.

Maddocks meets rubber

Whaler goalie Keegan Maddocks was busy from the opening face-off. Maddocks faced 15 shots in the first period.

Five minutes in, North Van's Sebastiano Biagi pounced on a loose puck. His seeing-eye shot beat Maddocks from the top of the circle. The Wolf Pack doubled the lead when Ryan Hunter converted on a 2-on-1 chance.

North Van's Matt Carniel beat Pod goalie Keegan Maddocks but rings one off the iron in the first period. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Penalty trouble

Unfortunately for the Whalers, a mini-Pod congregated when three players sat at once. Zach Sherwin (for roughing); Ryden Mathieson (a check to the head and an automatic 10-minute misconduct); and Ewan Rennie (for Mathieson's minor).

During North Van's 5-on-3 powerplay, Maddocks dove to make point-blank saves and captain Tyler Price gritted his teeth as he blocked a blast from the point.

As time wound down in the second period, the Whalers woke up in the offensive zone. Defenceman Caleb Cruz made an alert play at the blue line and fed centreman Jacob Dorohoy.

Dorohoy's shot from the slot beat Wolf Pack goalie Damian Perovic and cut North Van’s lead to 2-1.

The Wolf Pack celebrate after scoring Feb. 19. North Van lit the lamp three times and hung on for a 3-2 win. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Cruz control

Maddocks had plenty of third period heroics; he stopped two breakaways. However, the Wolf Pack’s Alex Binette put home a backhand with five minutes remaining.

The next shift, White Rock’s Cruz notched his second point of the night when he roofed a rebound past Perovic to put pressure on the home side. “Scoring that goal brought me up so much,” Cruz said after the game.

“I was really proud of the guys and I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

White Rock and North Van renew hostilities on Sunday, Feb. 20 for the third game of the best-of-seven series.