The Whalers and Richmond Sockeyes exchange handshakes after the Pod's series victory in Minoru Arena March 2.
‘Dynamite’ Mark Paton records first postseason shutout
MINORU ARENA – It takes an immense amount of confidence to guarantee a victory in the postseason. Especially in an elimination game.
Whaler Cole Svendson backed up his assertion that the Pod were going to can the Richmond Sockeyes and send them packing in five games. White Rock did exactly that with an emphatic 3-0 victory in Minoru Arena Mar. 2.
“Big Goal” Cole scored the opening goal in Game 5 – and the game-winner – when he crashed the crease and jammed a rebound past Sockeye netminder Ben Montgomery in the second period.
It was Svendson’s sixth lamp-lighter in three postseason games. In Game 4, he set a record as the first Whaler to notch a playoff hat trick. This postseason is his last chance for glory as the 20-year-old winger.
“He’s on a streak right now and hopefully [that] will continue,” said White Rock head coach Jason Rogers. “He’s competing hard, and it’s hard to get him off the puck.”
As for Whaler netminder Mark Paton, he was one cool cucumber. In the second period, he denied Sockeye Matthew Stewart with a pad save and immediately smothered a rebound attempt from Rocco La Cara at the top of the crease.
Whaler goalie Mark Paton had a stellar 2.00 goals-against-average in the five-game series against Richmond. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns.</p
Paton recorded a masterful 28-save shutout – and his first of the playoffs – in Game 5. After the game, he chatted about his determination to stay “even-keeled” and “battle through all the emotions” of pressure-filled hockey.
He was thankful to his teammates, notably defenceman Cole Dennis-Sharma, who blocked two shots. Again and again, Paton has presented the right angle to the opposition and his defensive corps takes care of the rest. “It’s been working well for us,” Paton pointed out.
Coach Rogers called Paton “dynamite” with the shutout his “best performance of the series.”
Paton also made his own puck luck. By the third period, the shorthanded Sockeyes were desperately up ice and rang a shot off Paton’s post.
Off that broken play, the Whalers counterattacked. Centreman Zach Sherwin deked at centre ice and passed the puck to captain Chris Fortems on the wing. Fortems peeled back, and defenceman Dylan Travis’s slapshot zinged into the top corner past a screened Montgomery.
Whaler rookie defenceman Dylan Travis scored his first postseason goal March 2. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns.</p
“I love it! Ecstatic, there’s nothing else really like it,” Travis exclaimed after the series victory.
Tao of Travis
Travis, a Whaler rookie, is part of a long line of American players from Washington state who have laced up and put on the ‘W’ crest. This tradition goes beyond the current Whalers club that joined the Pacific Junior Hockey League in 2018 – all the way back to the original Whalers franchise in the late 1980s.
During border line-ups, Travis uses that time to mentally prepare for practices and games, to visualize situations. “I love doing the drive. I don’t mind it,” he added.
He certainly won’t mind another two weeks of playoff hockey as the Whalers will again face their opponents from last year’s Tom Shaw Conference final: the Delta Ice Hawks.
Last season, White Rock defeated Delta in a bitter six games that ran high on emotion and heart-thumping exhilaration. Will the Pod do the same in 2023?
POST GAME AUDIO with Coach Rogers Dylan Travis & Mark Paton
"I'm very happy for him," head coach Jason Rogers commented about Paton's outstanding goaltending.
Live Audio with Coach Rogers
"Saw Svenner (Svendson) obviously in front...had to let it rip," Whaler defenceman Dylan Travis said of his one-timer for a 3-0 lead.
Live Audio with Dylan Travis
On scoring chances, "I just cut down the angle" to not give the Sockeyes "anything to look at," White Rock goalie Mark Paton said of his shutout performance.