Panthers pounce on pair of weekend wins

A new addition to the Peninsula Panthers this month has proven to be a valuable asset for the team

A new addition to the Peninsula Panthers this month has proven to be a valuable asset for the team.

Alex Milligan, 20, was acquired on Jan. 8 by the Panthers from the Kerry Park Islanders just prior to the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League trading deadline.

Panthers’ Head Coach Brian Passmore said the team gave up a lot of youth to bring both Milligan and Tylor Branzsen to the team, trading 18-year-olds Nick Kean and Adam Page for the more seasoned players.

“We wanted to upgrade our scoring,” said Passmore.

“Alex had a five-goal weekend this past weekend and leads the VIJHL in goals scored with 37. I’d say we addressed a big need of ours with the trade.”

Milligan scored three goals during last Friday night’s home game against the Westshore Wolves. The Panthers took the game 10-5 which now brings the team’s home winning streak to 13.

Milligan followed up Friday night’s game with two goals in Saturday’s game against the Oceanside Generals, which the Panthers took, 5-2.

Branzsen was in on several goals on the weekend as well and added grit with every shift he played, added Passmore.

“It’s nice to have those two kids to throw out there,” he said.

“It gives us a couple lines that can score at any time and a couple lines that can bang and crash and score.

“We really need our guys to buy in to roles now, to not hang their heads if they are scratched but rather to come out the next game and force me to put them back in the line-up the next game.

“Competition on a team is healthy, every team that finds a lot of success has it.”

The Panthers now find themselves behind only the Victoria Cougars in VIJHL standings.

“We would like to finish second overall but are in a battle with Campbell River and Comox,” explained Passmore.

“We have some real tough games coming up in the next two weeks and right through to the end of the regular season so this will be a real measuring stick to see where we are.”

The Panthers are back at home this Friday, Jan. 31 at Panorama Recreation Centre when they host the Kerry Park Islanders, the former team of Milligan and Branzsen. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.