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Whalers Show True Grit In 6-3 Victory vs Kodiaks

Whaler Saul Khalifa (#18) celebrates after scoring on the backhand in home opener. Photo courtesy of Jody Harris Photography, PJHL.

RICHMOND – This very irregular 2020 season has had more twists than a Hitchcockian thriller. No fans. A temporary new home. Mere hours before a provincial health order shuttered rinks for two weeks.

How did the Whalers respond? They brushed aside the quirky distractions and scored three powerplay goals to eke out a gritty 6-3 victory over the Aldergrove Kodiaks Nov 7.

The Pod improved their record to three wins and one loss – two points behind Aldergrove – after this back-to-back sweep.

“We showed some character last game (Nov. 4) and again character tonight,” said head coach Jason Rogers. “It’s more about competing harder: a little more want when it comes to winning races – and more importantly – a little more want when it comes to winning puck battles.”

Doray struck again when he ripped a laser from the left circle on the powerplay. The 18-year-old was nicknamed the “Swiss Army Knife” last year for his versatile ability to also play up front.

‘Swiss Army’ strikes in 1st

Halfway through the first period, Kodiak Trevor Baron snapped a shot from the slot that beat a sprawling Keegan Maddocks. The new Whaler netminder was still looking for his first ‘W’ in his second start.

Twenty-three seconds later, Whaler defenceman Ryan Doray took a wrister from the blue line that pinwheeled past Aldergrove’s Mark Paton in net.

Doray struck again when he ripped a laser from the left circle on the powerplay. The 18-year-old was nicknamed the “Swiss Army Knife” last year for his versatile ability to also play up front.

However, off the ensuing face-off, Kodiak Lucas Thompson corralled a loose puck. From the right wing, Thompson picked the top corner behind Maddocks to tie the game at two.

New rivals, More PPs

In the middle frame, both teams continued their physical play from three days earlier. Kodiak Connor Droux received a five-minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct when he became entangled with White Rock’s Tyler Rogers.

During the powerplay, Whaler Saul Khalifa collected his own rebound and deked to the backhand for his second of the season. The alternate captain was later tossed for fighting.

Meanwhile, teammate Zach Sherwin alertly hustled from centre. His backcheck robbed the Kodiaks of a shorthanded breakaway.

Later, Sherwin helped out on the scoreboard as well. He lit the lamp from in close for the game-winner.

‘New Rivalry’

In the third, Aldergrove’s Jack Coulthard took a checking from behind major and game misconduct. Second-year Whaler David Moody – an affiliate last season who worked his way onto the 2020 roster – put home his second of the campaign on the man advantage.

“It’s a new rivalry,” said Whalers’ captain Tyler Price of the recent bad blood with Aldergrove.

NEXT GAME: TO BE ANNOUNCED ASAP.