Mateo Sjoberg celebrates his game-winning goal with 30 seconds left in the game Tuesday night, as the Hawks took a 5-4 win against the Whalers at the Ladner Leisure Centre. // Tav Morrison photo
In a seesaw game in Ladner Tuesday night, the Ice Hawks came away with a thrilling win in the last minute of the game to defeat the White Rock Whalers in the final home game of the season.
Yuji Akimoto and Mateo Sjoberg scored goals 10 seconds apart to take a 5-4 victory in front of Jacob Zillich, who stopped 38 of 42 in his third start of the year.
White Rock got on the board first, with Nathan Bran stealing the puck at top of the Hawks’ zone, going in alone and beating Jacob Zillich with a move for a 1-0 Whalers lead.
The Hawks evened the score later in the first, with Nicholas Kolb getting to the puck first in the corner and found Colin Jang behind him. Jang deked then quickly tapped it over to Payton Hu for a quick goal for his fifteenth of the year.
The Whalers’ one goal lead returned though before the end of the frame, with Cohen Massey sending a long pass up to Zachary Johns, who made it 2-1 for the away team heading into the intermission.
On a Whalers power play in the second period, Keegan Bankier threw a shot at the net and it was tipped off an Ice Hawks out front and went in for a power play goal and a 3-1 White Rock lead.
Yuji Akimoto helped the Hawks draw back within one, stepping up on a play in the neutral zone and taking the puck in deep. He took a couple shots, then picked up the puck behind the net and passing out front to Mateo Sjoberg all alone for an easy one-timer, putting Sjoberg into double digit goals on the season.
Delta opened the third on a high note, tying the game just over a minute into the period. Danylo Bereza dropped a pass for Akimoto, whose shot was stopped by Mark Paton, but the rebound went to Jang across the slot and he had a wide open net for his twenty-third of the year.
Former Hawk Maxwell Kovach put the Whalers up by one again less than two minutes later. He was able to put in a shot off the boards past Zillich at a sharp angle to again give the visitors the lead and this time.
And it looked like it was going to hold up until the final minute of the game, when the Hawks potted two quick goals to steal the win. Akimoto fired a long shot through traffic to tie the game and then he set up Sjoberg for a one-timer in the slot to win the game with just 30 seconds left on the clock.