Peninsula Panthers are a ‘pleasant surprise’

Big team getting stronger and more cohesive says management

Peninsula Panther Adam Page is all smiles and gets a big hug from defenceman Iver Oedegaard after scoring his first-ever Junior goal in a game earlier this season.

The Peninsula Panthers are sitting pretty a quarter of the way into the 2013/14 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and have solidified things with a new, young team, says hockey operations manager Pete Zubersky.

The team is sitting in second place in the South Division of the VIJHL and third place overall, and Zubersky says things are shaping up nicely.

“Our forwards Connor Logan, Jackson Skerratt and rookie Tate Coughlin all sit in the top 10 in VIJHL scoring,” said Zubersky.

“They are a pleasant surprise for us. The chemistry on this line is building each time out.”

Zubersky added returning Panther Cole Glover is right up there with the top forwards on the team and is confident he will have a big year.

He also noted the 2013/14 Panthers team isn’t short on size and strength, something that has been benefiting the team thus far.

“We boast the biggest team in the VIJHL. We have eight big and strong defencemen and in the early going it was difficult to find ice for all of them. Grayson Vickers and Adam Page have played minutes up front and have not looked out of place. Rookie Sean Buchanan has already chipped in with five goals which is tops in the VIJHL,” Zubersky said, also commending the team’s returning goaltender Stephen Heslop.

“He has all the tools to be the best stopper in the VIJHL and has picked up the majority of the minutes in our games so far,” Zubersky explained.

“Last season was one where Heslop developed on a personal level and now he really has the talent to move to Junior A next season and chase an NCAA scholarship.”

Backing up Heslop this season is Joey Karrer from Smithers who played Midget last season and was plucked from the Cowichan Camp earlier this season.

“He seems to be getting better each time out,” said Zubersky.

For up to date player stats and the full team roster, visit ppanthers.bc.ca.

The Panthers next home game is Friday evening (Oct. 18) when they play host to a much-improved Campbell River Storm squad at the Panorama Recreation Centre. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m.