Steelers rebound after terrific -- but losing -- effort

Firing 60 shots on net and coming away on the wrong side of the score, the Grandview Steelers tried things a different way on Sunday and exited with the win.

The Pacific Junior B Hockey League team downed the expansion White Rock Whalers 3-2 at the Burnaby Winter Club, locking up their second win of the early season.

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Kyle Forbes scored 10 minutes into the third period to give the Steelers a brief 3-1 lead before the Whalers’ Logan Webber restored it to a single tally. Grandview, which fired just 25 shots on the White Rock net, protected the lead the rest of the way, with Cale Dolan collecting the win.

Although the team’s effort dimmed a bit on Sunday, getting a win and showing some refinement despite the back-to-back test was a positive sign in head coach Stevan Matic’s eyes.

“It was our home opener, and I felt we maybe took a step-back from the night before, but it was also our first back-to-back (games),” said Matic. “We did enough to win.”

Earlier markers from Emerson Kostner and Michael Martino gave Grandview a 2-0 advantage before the game was seven minutes old. Kostner’s goal, at 3:32 of the first, came on the powerplay, on a set-up from Forbes.

Just 24 hours earlier, Port Moody’s Noah Masog weathered a torrent of Steeler shots to backstop the Port Moody Panthers to a 3-2 win over Grandview.

The Scappoose, Ore. native made 58 saves, including 14 in a scoreless third period, to stymie the visitors.

Down 1-0, Grandview tied it six minutes into the middle frame when Jameson Crawford scored his first of the season. Just over a minute later, however, the Panthers regained the lead on a tally from Allan Gekhman. A minute later, Mateo Toledo made it 3-1 for the home team.

Connor Alderson got the Steelers back within a goal when he notched his second of the season midway through the frame, on an extra-man opportunity.

But Grandview were unable to solve Masog over the final 20 minutes, leaving them with their first loss of the season.

“Frankly, I thought we played our best game so far this season (against Port Moody),” noted Matic. “I’m fairly confident that if we can generate 60 shots on goal in a game, we’ll win our fair share.”

Another encouraging aspect was on defence, where the squad limited the opposition’s chances and gave returning netminders Dolan and Mateo Petrelli a lot of support.

Still, Matic said there remain a lot of unanswered questions as far as who fits where and how quickly they can settle into the junior B routine.

“We’re still trying to figure out what we have and where they fit,” he said. “I think if we continue to be defensive-minded yet have that ability to put our foot on the gas, we should be competitive.”

They next play Friday in Abbotsford, and host Surrey on Sunday, 7:15 p.m. at the Burnaby Winter Club.

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