After seeing their franchise-best win streak snapped just before the holiday break, the White Rock Whalers have reeled off another string of victories to start the new year.
The Pacific Junior Hockey League squad – which had previously never won more than four straight games since joining the junior ‘B’ circuit in 2018 – won seven games between Nov. 14 and Dec. 18, when they lost a 4-3 contest to the league-leading North Vancouver Wolf Pack.
However, the loss proved to be just a blip – the Whalers defeated North Van 5-1 the very next night, before taking an extended Christmas break.
PJHL teams returned to the ice earlier this month, with White Rock winning three in a row – matching its previous, pre-2021 mark for consecutive wins. On Jan. 1, the Whalers defeated the Abbotsford Pilots 5-2 at Abby’s Minoru Arena, and on Jan. 2, they beat the Mission City Outlaws 4-1.
Most recently, White Rock once again beat the Wolf Pack, 4-3 in overtime, Saturday night at North Van’s Harry Jerome Rec Centre. North Vancouver has just just seven games in regulation this season – and nine overall – with three of them coming at the hands of the Whalers.
The latest wins bumped the Whalers into third place in the Tom Shaw Conference, with a record of 21-11-1 (win-loss-overtime loss). They’re just one point back of the second-place Delta Ice Hawks, but still 12 shy of the Wolf Pack.
On Saturday, the Whalers’ offence was led by Chris Fortems, who scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season, while captain Tyler Price was the overtime hero, scoring the winner 1:38 into the extra frame.
White Rock goalie Keegan Maddocks stopped 26 shots en route to the victory.
Since acquiring goaltender Adam Winters from the Chilliwack Jets on Dec. 16, the Whalers had three goalies on the roster, but the goalie glut came to an end this week, with the announcement that David Zuvic had been dealt to the Ridge Meadows Flames in exchange for future considerations.
Winters, meanwhile, has seen action in two games for the Whalers so far, winning both. The Surrey resident has stopped 53 of 55 total shots.
The well-travelled Zuvic, 20, was in his first season with White Rock, and his finishes his tenure with the team with a 12-7 win-loss record and a save-percentage of .907. Prior to joining the Whalers, he spent two seasons with Mission, and one with the Abbotsford Pilots.