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Whalers Dominate Steelers

Whaler alternate captain Chris Fortems, the team's all-time leading scorer, notched two points against Grandview on Jan.29. | Photo courtesy of the Grandview Steelers.

Fortems adds to historic points total

CENTENNIAL ARENA – After an inconsistent stretch where the Whalers took too many penalties, White Rock rebounded with a thorough 5-1 victory over the Grandview Steelers on Jan. 29.

Whalers Volunteers Keith Rooyakkers, Nathan Hudson (front row, far left), Vincent Li, Richard Richards (front row, far right) and Carol Erkila (not in photo) raised $128 for Special Olympics Canada by selling Tim Hortons "Choose to Include" Donuts at Saturday's game. 

Chris joined the Whalers in 2019 and has notched 31 goals and 78 assists for 109 points.

Chris Anderson, an owner of AdCentives, conducted a ceremonial face-off between Whalers captain Tyler Price and Steelers captain Jarod Yau on Jan. 29. AdCentives is a Whalers sponsor.

Five separate Whaler scorers contributed. Even better, the Pod was only shorthanded three times. White Rock head coach Jason Rogers was pleased with the team’s dedication to staying out of the box.

He elaborated that the coaching staff had analyzed the game tape. In the last seven games before the Grandview contest, he said that the Whalers had taken 42 minor penalties – an average of six a game.

“You’re not winning any play-off series when you’re taking two minors a period,” Rogers pointed out.

‘Forty’ keeps making history

In the first period, the Whalers came out flying. Chris Fortems, the Pod's all-time leading scorer, tucked home a loose puck on the short side of Grandview goalie Ronin Geraghty.

After 20 minutes, the Whalers had 19 shots. Goalie Keegan Maddocks spent more time skating to his crease; the Steelers only tested him twice.

Geraghty's long night

In the middle frame, veteran Whaler centreman Jacob Dorohoy connected on the power play. He scored off a slick feed from defenceman Bryce Margetson.

“We were all over (Grandview) all game with all four lines,” Margetson said.

By the third period, the floodgates opened when the Pod's Sam Dowell, Ewan Rennie and “Big Goal” Cole Svendson all beat Geraghty for a 5-0 lead.

“After that frustrating loss in Richmond [two days earlier] the boys definitely wanted this one badly and it showed on the ice,” Svendson explained.

The only blemish came when Steeler Connor Wetsch broke Maddocks' shut-out bid. The Whaler netminder faced 14 shots and picked up his third win between the pipes.

At press time, the Whalers – with a record of 24 wins, 15 losses, an overtime loss, and an overtime win for 49 points – were still in fourth place in the Shaw Conference, two points behind the Richmond Sockeyes.

Jan. 27: Whalers at Richmond Sockeyes

A mere three seconds stood between the Whalers and overtime. But during a wild scramble in the crease, Sockeye Rocco La Carra nimbly deked his way past a few fallen Whalers and roofed the puck past Pod goalie Adam Winters for a 3-2 Richmond victory.

“Sometimes the bounces and decisions just don’t go your way,” said Winters. He faced 48 shots and stood on his head in the first period with 18 saves.

“Adam’s been solid…he gave us a chance to win and that’s all you can ask,” said White Rock head coach Jason Rogers. The Whalers picked up Winters in a trade from the Chilliwack Jets before Christmas.

Winters goes old school

Halfway through the opening frame, Winters looked like a street hockey netminder as he dove and kicked out his pads to make four successive point-blank saves.

In the second period, Sockeye Tyus Gent opened the scoring on the powerplay; Whaler Chris Fortems replied with a laser shot under the crossbar past the blocker of Richmond goalie Jovan Kheleh.

“Chris responded well, as he usually does,” Rogers commented.

Again, Gent put the Sockeyes ahead for a 2-1 lead. But Whaler Ewan Rennie corralled a rebound and beat Kheleh to the far post with a wraparound goal.

Too many penalties

The Whalers got into penalty trouble in the third period. Cole Svendson went off for charging; defenceman Cam Newson sat for three separate stick infractions and received a game misconduct.

With two minutes to go, Sam Dowell broke in all alone. He was robbed by Kheleh’s outstretched pad save before teammate Rocco La Carra broke the Pod’s hearts.

“The part that hurts the most is that we battled extremely hard to stay in the game, killing off multiple penalties in the third and coming so close,” Winters pointed out.