CENTENNIAL ARENA – The Proclaimers encouraged us to walk 500 miles – who knew a wait of more than 500 days for the Whalers would feel just as long?
After an interminable pause of 10 months between regular season games, the Pod finally laced up at home for a 5-1 victory over the feisty Grandview Steelers Sept. 11.
“Burr” rolls over Steelers
Whaler veteran Matt Burry has found natural chemistry with his linemates. He stamped his name on the scoresheet with four points: a goal and three assists.
Through months of practice during the pandemic, Burry adroitly discovered that roller hockey helped him become a more agile skater. Rollerblades are “not easy!” he exclaimed. “No stopping like ice hockey, that’s for sure.”
In the first period, Burry assisted when Whaler Zach Sherwin lit the lamp on a powerplay; teammate Josh Henderson doubled the lead to 2-0 when he snapped home a feed from Burry 12 seconds into the second.
A few minutes later, Steeler Dylan Narduzzi scored. However, Whaler Milo Schneidmiller buried his first of the season with the extra man.
In the third, goals from Burry and teammate Andrew Fishwick rounded out the scoring.
Old school Zuvic nets 1st Star
White Rock did not coast to a 5-1 victory. Actually, the two points came courtesy of experienced Whaler goalie Daniel Zuvic.
Acquired from Mission earlier this summer, he drew cheers for his acrobatic play and turned aside more than 30 shots for the win.
“I’m super excited to be back in the saddle,” Zuvic said. Halfway through the first period, he snapped down in his butterfly position and made three point-blank saves from Grandview shooters.
Later, the goalie dove to his left and went old school – stacking the pads – to rob Steeler Nick Baras from the slot.
Zuvic has “given us two good performances back-to-back,” said White Rock head coach Jason Rogers.
“We shouldn’t be putting him in those situations with odd-man rushes…it’s nice to know that he’s making those saves but we can’t play like that all year.”
So far, the Pod has won both regular season games after defeating Delta in a shoot-out last week.
Chippy 3rd Period
In the third, both Zuvic and his Grandview counterpart, Carsten Shrimpton, were tackled in their respective creases after covering up.
This form of the oldest hockey brinkmanship in the book – “you run my goalie, I’ll run yours” – led to a number of scrums and 10-minute misconducts.
“I like getting ran,” Zuvic pointed out. “Things are competitive and that’s a fun way to play the game.” He appreciated that his teammates had his back.
Moment of silence
Before the game, fans stood to mark the sombre anniversary of a tragic day – Sept. 11, 2001 – and the death of PJHL executive Ray Stonehouse, who passed away in July of this year.
Also, Glenn Anderson, a Hockey Hall of Famer and six-time Stanley Cup champion, conducted a ceremonial opening face-off.
Post-Game with Coach Rogers
Third: Grandview – # 17 Dylan Narduzzi
Second: White Rock – #89 Matt Burry
First: White Rock – # 31 Daniel Zuvic