The White Rock Whalers extended their playoff run with a win last weekend at South Surrey Arena, but they’ll need to pull off another victory Wednesday in Langley if they hope to extend their season.
The junior ‘B’ squad trailed the Langley Trappers 3-0 in their best-of-seven Pacific Junior Hockey League championship series heading into Game 4 Saturday night, but earned a 2-1 win to force a Game 5.
If the Trappers win tonight, the series will end in a championship for the Langley side; if White Rock is able to win and force a Game 6, it will be held Friday night, 8 p.m. at South Surrey Arena.
Game 4 was a low-scoring affair, but with a dramatic finish. With the Whalers nursing a one-goal lead – thanks to goals from Ryden Mathieson and Matt Burry – as the clock ticked down in the third period, a wild scramble for the puck ensued just outside the White Rock crease. Eventually, a Langley player got control of the puck and slid it past Whalers’ goalie Keegan Maddocks, and appeared to tie the game with less than 20 seconds remaining.
However, with the Trappers celebrating what they thought was the game-tying marker, one referee signaled it was a good goal, but the other waived it off, having called a penalty instead. In the end, the goal did not count and Burry was sent off for roughing.
And though White Rock played the last few ticks of the clock shorthanded, they held onto the slim lead and escaped victorious.
“Just glad the ref blew the whistle there [for] a much-needed break,” Burry said. “(But the) job’s not done. We have a lot of work to do.”
The puck drops for Game 5 tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. at Langley’s George Preston Recreation Centre.
Saturday’s game at South Surrey Arena also served as a fundraiser for Ukraine relief efforts. In total – through donations and the sale of handcrafted Ukrainian flags, headbands and ribbons – more than $3,500 was raised for the Maple Hope Foundation as well as the local Ukrainian Catholic Church. Both organizations are aiming to help women and children who have been displaced from their home country as a result of the Russian invasion.
Prior to the game, four singers – Mykhaylo Gadechuk, Lena Keshysheva, Yaroslava Tanko, and Olesya Rud – sang the Ukraine anthem, as well as O Canada.
“It was so heartwarming to hear the Ukrainian national anthem,” said Evelina Sadovska, a volunteer with the Maple Hope Foundation, adding that the moment was a “symbol of the unity” between Canada and Ukraine.