The White Rock Whalers’ playoff run continues this weekend, as the Pacific Junior Hockey League squad gets set for the second round.
The Whalers and Delta Ice Hawks will square off in the PJHL’s Tom Shaw Conference finals beginning Saturday night – Game 1 hits the ice at White Rock’s Centennial Arena at 7:30 p.m. Following the opening game, the teams have a one-day break, with Game 2 set for the Ladner Leisure Centre on Monday at 8 p.m.
Game 3 will also be played on the Ice Hawks’ home ice, on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.; while Game 4 shifts back to White Rock on Saturday, March 12. Games 5 through 7 will only be played if necessary – they won’t be needed if one team wins the first four games of the best-of-seven series – but are currently scheduled for Sunday, March 13, 7:45 p.m. in Ladner; Tuesday, March 15, 7 p.m. in White Rock and Wednesday, March 16 back in Ladner.
The Whalers advanced to the second round after a 4-2 series win over the higher-ranked North Vancouver Wolfpack – the clinching Game 6 victory Monday night gave the fourth-year franchise its first-ever playoff series win.
Delta, meanwhile, won its first-round series in seven games against the Richmond Sockeyes, who were the No. 2 seed in the conference when playoffs began; both top seeds failed to advance past the first round.
During the regular season, Delta and White Rock each finished with 27 wins, though Delta ended up with three more points than the Whalers by virtue of three shootout losses.
Both squads also feature some of the PJHL’s top playoff performers to date, as well. Delta’s Conner Merriman leads the playoffs in scoring with six goals and six assists in just seven games, while White Rock’s Zach Sherwin is right behind him in second place, with two goals and nine assists.