The Whalers battled and grinded out another tight, 1-goal affair with the Charlotte Rush Saturday night, prevailing in OT 4-3 to improve to 3-0 on the season against Charlotte.
Matthew Hanchon scored twice, including the overtime winner. Gary Eastlack and Nolan Cavanagh also connected for the Whalers. Cole Helgemo, Trevor Byers, Ryan Lorenz and Gary Eastlack each had 1 helper, while Max Loga had 2. Everett Yasinski made 37 saves in goal for his 15th win of the season.
The Rush held a 40-31 shot on goal advantage. The Whalers went 2 for 4 on the power play, the Rush finished 0 for 5. Robert Brown was ejected from the game for the Whalers.
With playoff seeding on the line and needing to win, the Whalers found a way Saturday night with a 5-2 win over the Rush.
Veteran Billy Brock led the charge, notching a hat trick, including the 1st 3 goals of the game. Colton Seeman and Zach Zalar also scored. Brandon Osmundson added 2 more assists to his league leading total while Brendon Zack, John Moncovich, and Trent Wydrowski each had 1. Sean Dickson picked up win #22 with 30 saves.
Charlotte held a 32-25 shot advantage. The Whalers finished 1 for 7 on the power play, Charlotte was 2 for 8.
In game 2 Sunday, things were going well for the Whalers, with leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but a 3 goal middle frame became their undoing in a 5-2 loss to the Rush. The win was Charlotte’s 1st USP3 win in franchise history over the Whalers, who were a perfect 8-0 against the Rush leading into the game. The Whalers won the season series 3-1.
Tyler Dienna scored for the Whalers, the rookies 3rd goal in his last 4 games. Forward Cody Wilson also scored, breaking the veterans 8 game goalless drought. Trevor Byers, Tanner davis, Adam Campbell and Charles DuBose each added 1 assist. Steve McGuire allowed 5 goals on 27 shots in the loss.
The Whalers held a 31-27 edge in shots. Charlotte went 1 for 5 on the power play, Hampton Roads was 1 for 6.
It all came down to Sunday, with a 2 point lead in the standings, a regulation win or overtime loss would seal division title for the defending champions, while the Rush needed a regulation win to take the 1 seed, with Charlotte holding the tie breaker in the standings. The Whalers came back from down 2-0 to tie things up late in the 3rd, but a bad unforced turnover led to a Rush goal in a 4- 2 loss. With both teams tied with 77 points, Charlotte (38-5-1, 77 pts) sealed the division based on wins, 38 to the Whalers (37-4-3, 77pts) 37.
John Moncovich scored his 50th goal of the season. Brendon Zack added the other marker. Brandon Osmundson and Andriy Denyskin had the helpers. Sean Dickson took the loss in net.
The Whalers will kick off their defense of the USPHL Championship this coming weekend. The Elite squad will be the #2 seed and host #7 Atlanta in a best of 3 series starting Friday night at the Ponds. The USP3 squad will travel to Richmond as the #5 seed and face the #4 Generals in a best of 3 starting Friday night at Skate Nation Plus. A full playoff preview will be launched tomorrow.