If nothing else, the White Rock Whalers and Delta Ice Hawks have been giving fans their money’s worth – and then some – after four of five games in their second-round Pacific Junior Hockey League series have required overtime to decide.
The Whalers have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven conference final – the winner advances to the league championship – and they’ll have a shot to clinch the series Tuesday night at Centennial Arena; puck drop is 7 p.m.
White Rock had a chance to end the series Sunday night at the Ladner Leisure Centre, but fell to the Ice Hawks 4-3 in double overtime, with Delta’s Dalton MacGillivray scoring the winner 3:19 into the second overtime session.
Sam Dowell, Jayson Beauregard and Zach Sherwin scored for White Rock, while goalie Keegan Maddocks made 49 saves. In the other net, Merik Erickson stopped 38 for Delta, and Carson Merriman had two goals and an assist.
Sunday’s game wasn’t the longest of the series, however – the series opener on March 5 also went to overtime, with the winner – scored by Whalers’ forward Ewan Rennie – coming 3:40 into the second OT.
White Rock won the second game, too, – a 4-2 contest played in Ladner – before Delta got its first win of the series in Game 3, another double-overtime affair that ended when Delta’s Carson Bigras snapped a rebound past Maddocks two minutes into the fifth period of the game.
Game 3 hurt the Whalers on more than just the scoreboard, however, as the team also played without Rennie – the team’s leading playoff goal-scorer at the time – who missed the game due to injury. He watched from the stands, with a cast on one of his wrists.
After the game, Whalers head coach Jason Rogers said, “I don’t see (Rennie) playing in this series” and the young forward has, in fact, continued to be sidelined in the last two games, as well.
Despite missing games, Rennie is still tied with Sherwin for second on the team in playoff goals with six; Beauregard leads the way with eight. After Sunday’s game, Sherwin leads the entire PJHL in playoff scoring with 19 points in 11 games.
White Rock was led offensively in Game 4 by Beauregard, who had a pair of goals, and captain Tyler Price had one – and an important one, at that. Price’s goal, a wrist-shot from the point, came in the final minute, with the goalie pulled, and tied the game to force overtime.
With eight goals in the playoffs so far, Rogers noted that Beauregard – who only had 10 goals during 27 regular-season games, split between White Rock and Port Moody – had really upped his game, as he plays out his final season of junior-hockey eligibility.
“He’s really embracing the opportunity. He’s got a skill – a natural knack – to kind of make things out of nothing,” Rogers said of his 20-year-old forward.
Game 3 was also a rowdy one, with the two teams combined for 100 penalty minutes – 54 of them White Rock’s. After one first-period scrum in front of the net, four different White Rock players were assessed 10-minute misconducts.