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Playoffs Game 4: Pod Puts Pack On Brink (OT)

Captain Tyler Price started the comeback when he scored a powerplay marker. "We responded in the third, coming out strong and never gave up," he said. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Ewan Rennie scores in sudden-death

CENTENNIAL ARENA – Are the White Rock Whalers actually the 1993 Montreal Canadiens in disguise?

The Whalers roared back from a 3-1 deficit and killed off a five-minute major in overtime to win their second straight postseason game in sudden-death Feb. 24.

Ewan Rennie used his sweet stickhandling and took advantage of poor defensive positioning by the North Vancouver Wolf Pack. He crashed the crease for the winning goal in double overtime.

Doug Clifford (second from left) and Scott Higgins, owners of Hugh & McKinnon Realty Ltd., drop the puck for captains Tyler Price (left) and Alex Binette Feb 24. For more than a century, Hugh & McKinnon has been a real estate leader in White Rock / South Surrey.

This 4-3 victory means that the Whalers, the fourth playoff seed, now lead the top-ranked Wolf Pack three games to one in the best-of-seven quarter-finals.

“When our top guys got their chance on the powerplay in (double) overtime, it was over in a matter of seconds,” said White Rock alternate captain Matt Burry. The stellar penalty killing “got the boys fired up on the bench.”

Burry referred to the Whalers being shorthanded late in the third and then Sam Dowell’s major for checking from behind in the first overtime. The Pod’s penalty killers only allowed three shots in the extra period.

In the Pacific Junior Hockey League, the first overtime is only 10 minutes with five-on-five play. Double overtime is the traditional 20 minutes.

“Our penalty kill’s been dynamite,” pointed out White Rock head coach Jason Rogers. The Whalers did not surrender a powerplay goal as the Wolf Pack had five-man advantage situations.

 

Whaler goalie Keegan Maddocks faced 40 shots, including three in overtime, as he steered the Pod to a 4-3 victory. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Pack’s early lead

The Wolf Pack put 11 shots on goal in the opening frame. North Van's Matt Carniel and Donovan Bellmond-Griffin beat Whaler netminder Keegan Maddocks for a 2-0 lead.

However, “Big Goal” Cole Svendson put the Pod on the scoreboard before the intermission.

The Wolf Pack had a new goalie between the pipes as Nick Jerris made his postseason debut.

Halfway through the second, the Pack’s Ryan Hunter converted a pass from Billy Johal to restore the two-goal cushion.

Pod's frantic comeback

Down 3-1 heading into the third, Burry recalled how the Pod turned the situation around. It all began with a fired-up dressing room.

“The talk we had in the second intermission really got the guys going,” he said.

A few minutes later, the Centennial faithful jumped for joy twice in a span of 90 seconds. As the clock ticked down to six minutes left, Whalers captain Tyler Price struck on the powerplay; teammate Ewan Rennie notched his second of the play-offs to force the extra periods.

“You could feel momentum building,” Rogers recalled. Meanwhile, Maddocks faced 40 shots and picked up his second play-off win for the Pod.

The Whalers now head to North Van for game five and a chance to knock out the Wolf Pack Feb. 26.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” concluded Whalers captain Tyler Price. “We fought through a ton of adversity tonight.”