Skip to content

White Rock Whalers to face Wolf Pack in first-round of PJHL playoffs

Junior ‘B’ hockey playoff series a rematch of first round two years ago
Matt Burry and goalie Keegan Maddocks look skyward Feb. 6 during a White Rock Whalers 2-0 win over the Grandview Steelers Feb. 6. (Alistair Burns/White Rock Whalers photo)

The White Rock Whalers are ready for the playoffs this week – and they’ll find a familiar foe when they get there.

Starting tomorrow (Tuesday) at Centennial Arena, the Whalers will face off against the first-place North Vancouver Wolf Pack in their Pacific Junior Hockey League quarter-final playoff matchup.

Games 2 and 3 will shift to North Van’s Harry Jerome Arena – set for Feb. 19 and 20 – with Game 4, if necessary, back in White Rock Feb. 22.

The Whalers finished the regular season fourth in the PJHL’s Tom Shaw Conference, with a record of 27-16-1 (win-loss-overtime loss), which was 13 points back of the Wolf Pack, who lost just seven games in regulation time all season, plus five more in overtime.

The 27-win total was a franchise record for the team.

The first-round showdown will be a rematch of the PJHL’s first round two seasons ago, when the Whalers were making their first-ever playoff appearance and North Van was coming in as the hottest junior ‘B’ team in the province and maybe beyond.

White Rock upset the Wolf Pack in overtime in Game 1, before North Van won four in a row to move on to the second round.

This time, however, things are likely to be more evenly played. The two clubs split their six head-to-head contests in the regular season, with each team winning three, and Whalers head coach Jason Rogers noted that his team is much improved from two years ago.

“I love our group. I think this is a fantastic group of young men who are going to make a healthy (playoff) run.”

Three current veterans on the Whalers were part of that playoff series two seasons ago – Chris Fortems, Matt Burry and Butch La Roue.

This series may very well come down to special-teams play. The Wolf Pack have home-ice advantage, and while the Whalers penalty kill on the road was strong this season at an 85 per cent rate, the power play struggled, clicking at just 17 per cent.

“If we can play hard and stay out of the box, we will be very successful,” Whalers captain Tyler Price said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter