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Playoffs Game 6: Pod Makes History, Ousts Pack

The Whalers and Wolf Pack players shake hands after White Rock eliminated North Van in six games Feb. 28.

‘Money’ Whalers win first-ever postseason series

CENTENNIAL ARENA – A tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears went into an agonizing four-year wait. Now, the White Rock Whalers have marked their sweetest victory.

The Whalers, the fourth and lowest seed in the Tom Shaw Conference, scored a major upset in the first round of the playoffs when they defeated the North Vancouver Wolf Pack, the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s (PJHL) elite, in six games.

The finale came on Feb. 28 when the Pod drubbed the Pack 6-2 on home ice.

“It was a great feeling to not only eliminate the regular season’s best team, but also to get revenge on North Van from two seasons ago,” said Whaler Matt Burry.

Now an alternate captain, Burry remembered the heartbreak from two years earlier as a rookie when the Wolf Pack eliminated the Whalers in five games.

Veteran teammate “Butch” La Roue was also frustrated two years ago. The defenceman is the Pod’s all-time leader in games played and this postseason is his last shot at PJHL glory.

“This is our time as a club to go for it all,” he commented.

This series provided three new ‘first’ milestones for the Whalers: a first-ever playoff series victory; a first knockout of a defending champion (North Van won the league’s crown in 2019, the last final held before the pandemic); and the first time the Pod will play in March.

Goals galore
Jayson Beauregard opened the scoring on Feb. 28. The winger pounced on a turnover and from the right-wing, picked the top corner over Wolf Pack goalie Damian Perovic’s blocker. It was Beauregard’s third of the postseason.

“We are stellar at home,” he said. The Whalers won all three home games in the quarter-finals.

Beauregard came to the Whalers a few months ago in a trade from the league’s worst team, the Port Moody Panthers. In White Rock, the secondary scorer has thrived in the playoffs, as he also notched an overtime winner in game three.

The Whalers doubled the lead when defenceman Caleb Cruz alertly used his stick to poke the puck onside for Burry. The Centennial faithful then heard the satisfying tink! of Burry’s shot off the post and in past Perovic.

“Our start tonight was money,” Burry added. “Our motto for this game was get the lead and don’t look back. Man, did we execute that.”

After North Van’s Matt Carniel put the Pack on the scoreboard, Whaler Ryden Mathieson used his impressive hands to notch a shorthanded goal from a Burry pass.

Weeks before the Christmas break, Mathieson caught the eye of the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars in training camp and will hopefully skate to earn a roster spot next year.

"Big Goal" Cole Svendson notched his second of the postseason on the man advantage. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Rennie’s sweet hands

The third period was the Ewan Rennie show. His first goal chased Perovic to the bench; his second, a powerplay marker, ensured that the Whalers would clinch the series at home instead of letting a commanding 3-1 series lead evaporate.

Whaler goalie Keegan Maddocks rebounded from being pulled in game five. In game six, he faced 39 shots and posted his third postseason win for the Pod.

Whalers captain Tyler Price was pleased to be a part of playoff history. Last season when he first wore the ‘C’ – the PJHL cancelled the season in November due to the pandemic,

“The group we have are all playing for each other right now and it’s showing in our play,” he said. “I’m very confident that this series win is just the start for us.”

Veteran Whaler defenceman "Butch" La Roue (22) will look to contain the high-flying Delta Ice Hawks in the semi-finals.

On to Delta

Now, the Whalers will move on to the semi-finals and look to contain the Delta Ice Hawks, a very aggressive and fast-skating team.

“We believe that we can compete with any team in the league, regardless of standings,” concluded White Rock head coach Jason Rogers.

At press time, the semi-final schedule against the Delta Ice Hawks was not set. Check out whiterockwhalers.com, PJHL.net, or download the PJHL app for up-to-date info.

Chris Fortems eludes Wolf Pack defenders to bat home a rebound. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns, White Rock Whalers.

Goals galore
Jayson Beauregard opened the scoring on Feb. 28. The winger pounced on a turnover and from the right-wing, picked the top corner over Wolf Pack goalie Damian Perovic’s blocker. It was Beauregard’s third of the postseason.

“We are stellar at home,” he said. The Whalers won all three home games in the quarter-finals.

Beauregard came to the Whalers a few months ago in a trade from the league’s worst team, the Port Moody Panthers. In White Rock, the secondary scorer has thrived in the playoffs, as he also notched an overtime winner in game three.

The Whalers doubled the lead when defenceman Caleb Cruz alertly used his stick to poke the puck onside for Burry. The Centennial faithful then heard the satisfying tink! of Burry’s shot off the post and in past Perovic.

“Our start tonight was money,” Burry added. “Our motto for this game was get the lead and don’t look back. Man, did we execute that.”

After North Van’s Matt Carniel put the Pack on the scoreboard, Whaler Ryden Mathieson used his impressive hands to notch a shorthanded goal from a Burry pass.

Weeks before the Christmas break, Mathieson caught the eye of the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars in training camp and will hopefully skate to earn a roster spot next year.