Whaler netminder Evan Paul was sublime between the pipes Jan. 21. He faced 23 shots in a 4-2 victory. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns / White Rock Whalers.
Pod goalie Paul grounds Pilots
CENTENNIAL ARENA – It was a dogfight. But the Whalers – via goalie Evan Paul’s heroics – squeaked out a 4-2 win over the surprisingly resilient Abbotsford Pilots.
Each period, Paul faced a breakaway and stymied Abbotsford’s Carter Dickson’s wrist shot high to the glove side; Camden Koch’s backhand deke; and another Koch move to the forehand.
“I just tried to stay poised every time,” Paul said. “We’re not satisfied where we are right now. We’re trying to get that third [play-off] spot secured so we’ve got to just keep working hard and keep having gusty efforts like tonight.”
Paul faced 23 shots and picked up his 10th win of the season between the pipes.
Whaler Zac Sherwin handles the puck in warm-up. He had a four-point night on Jan. 21. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns / White Rock Whalers.
Sher-WIN line dominant
Only 51 seconds after the opening face-off, Zac Sherwin fired home his 31st of the season past Pilot goalie Cooper Giesbrecht. Sherwin, the first line centreman, was involved in every Pod goal with assists on two “Big Goal” Cole Svendson markers and Charlie Derrheim’s cannonading drive from the point on the power play.
Battle of Brittain
The Pilots play on the other side of the standings in the Harold Brittain Conference and are light-years out of the post-season picture with six wins, 34 losses and one shoot-out loss for 13 points.
However, Abbotsford threw their weight around in a tight-checking affair. Halfway through the second period, Whaler Zach Johns and Pilot Braxton Hooper dropped the gloves during a scrum that resulted in 31 minutes of penalties for Abbotsford and 29 for White Rock.
In the Pacific Junior Hockey League, fights come with an automatic game misconduct.
“A bit of a theme with us – an inability to kind of keep our emotions at an even keel,” White Rock head coach Jason Rogers commented. He said that the coaching staff would continue to address the concern.
With six minutes left in the third period, Pilot Connor Jarvis cut the Pod’s lead to 3-2. Thankfully, Cole Svendson again earned his nickname with an insurance goal before the last minute of play.
Play-offs, here we come!
As of press time on Jan. 23, the Whalers have officially clinched a playoff spot for a chance to skate with the Ray Stonehouse Cup.
White Rock has a record of 23 wins, 15 losses and two shoot-out losses for 48 points. They currently sit third in the six-team Tom Shaw Conference.
The Whalers are 10 points behind the second seed, the Delta Ice Hawks and one point ahead of the fourth-seeded Grandview Steelers.
Sophia Xi from the White Rock / South Surrey Skating Club performed during an intermission. She has figure skated for the past six years. | Photo courtesy of Alistair Burns / White Rock Whalers.
POST GAME AUDIO with Coach Rogers and Evan Paul
"We have to adjust to pressure and we're going to work on that this week," White Rock head coach Jason Rogers said of giving up three breakaways against the Pilots.
Live Audio with Coach Rogers
Since the Winter Classic, Pod netminder Evan Paul has tried to "find pucks through traffic, stay poised and not scramble around too much."
Live Audio with Evan Paul
NEXT UP | January
Friday, Jan.27th | 7:30 p.m.
Whalers travel to the Valley to face-off against the Abbotsford Pilots.
NEXT UP | February
Sunday, Feb. 5th | 5:00 p.m.
Whalers travel to the WACK to take on the Chilliwack Jets.
Sardis Sports Complex