The fierce rivalry between Richmond and Hampton Roads was alive and well coming into round 1 of the USP3 playoffs Friday night. The two teams have met 6 times this season, with the Whalers posting a 2-3-1 record, but 5 of the 6 games decided by only 1 goal, and this series would be no different. In game 1, the Whalers scored with just 14 seconds remaining in overtime to take a 3-2 lead and 1-0 series lead.
Matthew Hanchon, Gary Eastlack, and Max Loga scored goals for the Whalers with Eastlack being the overtime hero. Charles DuBose and Adam Campbell had 2 assists each while Eastlack and Loga each had 1. Everett Yasinski stopped 34 of 36 in net for the win.
The Whalers held a 38-36 shot on goal advantage. Hampton Roads went 1 for 3 on the power play while Richmond was 0 for 4.
In game 2, the Whalers weren’t nearly as good, and their penalty kill let them down, as they trailed 3-1 entering the 3rd period. The boys put forth a furious rally to tie the game at 3-3 late, but a Richmond power play goal with just 1:30 left was the difference and an added empty net goal with just .01 remaining sealed a 5-3 loss and series tie.
Matthew Hanchon, Gary Eastlack, and Tanner Davis scored goals for the Whalers. Max Loga had 2 helpers while Tyler Dienna, Gary Eastlack, Jonah Lainesse, and Charles DuBose each notched 1. Everett Yasinski made 38 saves in a losing effort.
Richmond held a 43-33 shot on goal advantage. Richmond went 2 for 2 on the power play, the Whalers were 0 for 2.
Game 3 had everything a hockey fan could want. Big goals, huge saves, big hits, blocked shots, and 2 fiercely competitive teams who refused to lose. The two rivals skated to a 1-1 tie after 20, a 3-3 tie after 40, until a Gary Eastlack PP goal in the 3rd to propel the boys in blue and green to a 4-3 win and spot in round 1.
Captain Gary Eastlack willed his team to victory with a hat-trick, while co-captain Max Loga also scored. Loga also notched 3 helpers, Collin Markoski had 2, Jonah Lainesse, and Gary Eastlack each had 1. Everett Yasinski scored the win in net with 39 saves.
Richmond held a 42-41 shot advantage. Hampton Roads went 2 for 6 on the power play while Richmond was 2 for 5.
Game one between the Whalers and Atlanta Knights Elite team was one were not often accustomed to. Coming in at 5-0-1 on the season against Atlanta, the Knights weren’t going to roll over and give it to the Whalers, who put forth a lethargic effort, losing 2-1 and finding themselves on the brink of elimination.
Colton Seeman scored the lone Whalers goal from Brandon Osmundson. Sean Dickson made 20 saves in net in a losing effort.
The Whalers held a 33-22 shot on goal advantage. Both teams finished 0 for 2 on the power play.
In game 2, the beast was awake. The Whalers manage to pot 2 goals per period and showcase their lock down defense en route to a 6-0 shutout win to force game 3.
Andriy Denyskin potted 2 goals, Nick Richards, Brandon Osmundson, Tyler Besner, and Liam Walsh each netted 1. 9 different Whalers tallied one assist each in Brendon Zack, Seamus O’Kane, Nick Richards, Andriy Denyskin, Colton Seeman, Brandon Osmundson, Conner Hunt, Liam Walsh, and Vaden McManus. Sean Dickson made 14 saves for the win and his 9th shutout of the year.
The Whalers held a 40-14 shot on goal advantage. The Whalers went 2 for 6 on the power play, while Atlanta went 0 for 3.
In game 3, the Whalers wasted little time asserting their dominance, jumping out to a 2-0 lead after 1 period and cruising the rest of the way in a 5-0 win for back to back shutouts and a trip to round 2.
John Moncovich notched a pair of goals while Zach Zalar, Andriy Denyskin, and Liam Walsh scored 1. Denyskin and Brandon Osmundson each had 2 helpers, while Liam Walsh had 1. Sean Dickson and Alec Lindberg combined to make 19 saves for the win and shutout.
The Whalers held a 31-19 shot on goal advantage. Both teams went 0 for 4 on the power play.
The Whalers continue their title defense in round 2 of the USPHL playoffs, as both team will look to punch their ticket for a return trip to the USPHL finals in Boston. The Whalers USP3 team will head to #2 Charlotte Thursday- Sunday while the Elite team will host either #4 Florida Eels or #3 Carolina Eagles pending the result of the Eagles vs. Richmond series. We will release a full round 2 preview article tomorrow with all the times and information.