The Peninsula Panthers won their first regular season game this past weekend, despite not playing their veterans in the warm-up exhibition games.
“The rust was evident in the early part of the game against the Kerry Park Islanders,” said hockey operations manager, Pete Zubersky, adding players seemed to find their legs midway through the first period in Friday night’s game.
Panthers’ goalie Stephen Heslop made save after save in the first period to keep the score close between the two teams.
With under a minute left in the first frame, newcomer Brandon Story opened the scoring to give the Panthers the lead and the team never looked back.
Cole Glover tallied on a power play effort at 7:29 of the second period however Matt Grant replied for the Islanders four minutes later to slice the lead to one. Panther Zack Smith then surprised Islanders’ goalie Jackson Jane when he whipped a snapshot through his legs.
The final period was all Panthers as they received more goals from Glover, rookie Tate Coughlin and Jackson Skerratt. The hosts outshot the visitors 45-33. Coughlin, Logan and Heslop were named as the three stars.
“We could not make a pass early,” said Zubersky. “But as the game went on I thought we started to click. It will take us five or six games to really start clicking but we have a pretty solid squad this time around with a lot of depth at all positions. The kids are going to have to battle to stay in the lineup, there is no doubt about that.”
The Panthers recently sent Thomas Strocel to the Westshore Wolves for future considerations. The Wolves will visit the Panthers this Friday evening at Panorama at 7:30 p.m.