The Panthers’ Matthew Seale (#7) goes down to block a shot in front of goaltender Connor McKillop Friday evening in VIJHL action as the Panthers beat the league-leading Victoria Cougars 6-4. McKillop earned his 20th victory as the Panthers outshot the Cougars 36-34. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)

Peninsula Panthers beat league leaders but lose to Saanich over the weekend

Panthers followed their 6-4 victory against the Victoria Cougars with an 8-3 loss against Saanich Braves

Two teams wore the same Peninsula Panthers’ uniform over the weekend as the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League club split their two games.

When Logan Speirs sealed the Panthers’ 6-4 home victory against league-leading Victoria with an empty-net goal in front of a home crowd at Panorama Recreation Centre, the team sent a message to the rest of the league. Less than 48 hours later, they found themselves on the losing end of a crushing 8-3 defeat against the Saanich Braves.

This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde imitation was not lost on team officials. “I have been around the [junior] game for a lot of years and the one thing you can always count on in junior hockey is that you cannot count on anything,” quipped Pete Zubersky, the team’s general manager. “This weekend proved just that.”

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers hope to ring in 2020 on a winning note

Friday night, the Panthers battled back not once, but twice from deficits. Trailing early in the third period after Victoria’s go-ahead goal, the Panthers punished the Cougars on consecutive penalties, scoring two powerplay goals in less than three minutes to take the lead. The Panthers’ leading trio of Lingard, Tanner Wort, and Riley Braun racked up five out of the six possible points during this decisive phase of the game. The Panthers then protected the lead until Speirs’ clinching goal.

“I thought our club played their hearts out Friday night, they were ready to go and deserved the win, what a game,” said Zubersky.

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers make statements on and off the ice

Friday’s emotional high was short-lived as the Saanich Braves, 24 points behind the Panthers heading into Sunday’s afternoon game, scored eight goals on 30 shot including an empty-netter in their victory against the Panthers, who shot the puck 60 times.

“On Sunday, their goaltender stood on his head and although we doubled the shots on the Braves, they came out on top where it counted,” said Zubersky.

Connor Cheyne, who had previously played for the Braves, took the loss.

The Panthers will look to make amends, but not before the right lessons from the weekend, which has left them in second place overall, three points behind the Cougars, who have three games in hand, with the playoffs on the horizon.

“We can’t get too high or too low,” said Zubersky. “We have 13 games left before playoffs and it’s time that we buckled down and started to work at being playoff ready. It has to start from the goaltender on out, simplify the game, get pucks out and get pucks in. That is the formula of winning hockey and always has been.”

The Panthers will head to Archie Browning Arena on Thursday night to take on the Cougars before returning to Panorama on Friday, when they will host the North Division-leading Oceanside Generals, with a large crowd expected to watch the puck drop at 7:30 p.m.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Protesters block access to Swartz Bay ferry terminal

Protesters standing in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Esquimalt explores creating portage beach for choppy Gorge waters

The portage beach would add safety to the Victoria Waterways Loop

Number of U-Hauls entering Victoria plummeted in 2019

Data compiled from two million one-way U-Haul transactions

Decline of Canadian manufacturing hurts men, according to new study

A five per cent drop in manufacturing drops the weekly wages of men by at least 6.9 per cent

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Itska back in owner’s arms after Island man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman reunited with lost dog Itska on Sunday

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read