Veteran Whaler winger "Big Goal" Cole Svendson (above) created scoring chances but didn't turn on the red light in a 3-1 loss Feb. 20. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns.
Pod’s top line held off scoresheet
MINORU ARENA – The Whalers received a taste of Jr. ‘B’ postseason action on Feb. 20 – hard hits, close defensive play and clutch goaltending at opportune moments.
But their opponents, the Richmond Sockeyes, took the first game of the Tom Shaw Conference semi-finals with a 3-1 victory.
Midway through the second period, Sockeye Justin Grant crashed the crease for a powerplay marker, and teammate Vincent Thrum added a goal from the point only 24 seconds into the third.
This was a completely rejuvenated Sockeyes squad. Heading into the playoffs, Richmond had lost six in a row.
Goalie Ben Montgomery allowed one goal on 35 shots and then had to leave the game with two minutes left with an equipment issue; backup netminder Jovan Kheleh stopped four additional shots and withstood a pod of Whalers around his crease.
Meanwhile, Whaler goalie Mark Paton lost his first playoff start. He faced 35 shots.
n Game 1, rookie blueliner Charlie Derrheim's point shot put the Pod ahead. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns.
As the first line turns…
For the first time in months, White Rock’s top trio: centreman Zach Sherwin, captain Chris Fortems; and “Big Goal” Cole Svendson’s names were not written on the scoring summary.
There were a few bright lights for the Whalers. A minute into the middle frame, defenceman Charlie Derrheim opened the scoring with a blast on the man advantage. Later, he also rang a puck off the iron.
The six-foot-one rookie looked like a seasoned veteran. “Not a lot of space. A lot different from the regular season,” he detailed. He said that the Whalers will have to “remember not to retaliate.”
Derrheim was referring to the third period when the Whalers ran into penalty trouble.
Braydon Clark was assessed with a five-minute major for a check to the head and a game misconduct on a play behind the goal line. The former Prince Albert Raider joined the Pod at the trade deadline.
White Rock alternate captain Zach Sherwin was part of the penalty-killing unit. He praised teammates David Moody and Travis Smythe, who stymied the Sockeyes during Clark’s major.
“We’ve been trucking along the whole season,” Sherwin said. Both teams went 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
“Obviously (Game 1) had an edge,” White Rock head coach Jason Rogers said. “Two teams that probably don’t like each other very much.”
POST GAME AUDIO with Coach Rogers and Charlie Derrheim
"We need to realize that other guys have to step up in those situations when guys are banged up...I thought everybody did that," head coach Jason Rogers said of the first game.
Live Audio with Coach Rogers
Each Whaler has to play "for the guy beside us," rookie defenceman Charlie Derrheim said.