Sports

Cat fight: Cougars the dominant feline, sweeping VIJHL finals

The Peninsula Panthers pose with the voice of the Canucks, Mark Donnelly, who sang the national anthem before Game 3 against the Victoria Cougars, at Panorama Recreation Centre, during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League finals. In the wheelchair is Aidan Love, to his left, David Stephens and to this right, friend Joe Densmore and Mark Donnelly. Love is paralyzed from the waist down after a snowboarding accident in Whistler on Feb. 14. - Richard Hyde photo
The Peninsula Panthers pose with the voice of the Canucks, Mark Donnelly, who sang the national anthem before Game 3 against the Victoria Cougars, at Panorama Recreation Centre, during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League finals. In the wheelchair is Aidan Love, to his left, David Stephens and to this right, friend Joe Densmore and Mark Donnelly. Love is paralyzed from the waist down after a snowboarding accident in Whistler on Feb. 14.
— image credit: Richard Hyde photo

The Peninsula Panthers playoff run ended with a thud Saturday night as the Victoria Cougars ousted the local club with a 5-2 win at the Panorama Recreation Centre.

The Cougars also captured the Friday night win, adding up to a best-of-7 series 4-0 sweep for the Victoria club.

“There was not a dry eye in the dressing room after the loss Saturday night,” said Panthers’ co-owner Pete Zubersky.  “Jake Bryan, Joe Densmore, Tyler Porteous, Brock Dodsworth and Trevor Yee are all 20-year-olds and have played out their junior careers. These young men put everything they had into this playoff run and I could not be more proud to say I was involved with them. Every single guy on our club left it out on the ice in these playoffs and, although it was not quite good enough, it was everything that anyone could have expected. I am proud of our club today. They went out like winners.”

Cougars raised the Brent Patterson Memorial trophy with a cathartic release from the weight of losing the 2011 final to the Panthers.

“Peninsula’s a good team, but we had extra motivation from last year,” Cougars coach mark Van Helvoirt said. “We were able to block it out this year, but it was always in the back of the mind.”

Saturday’s Game 4 wasn’t a given for the Cougars. Cole Glover scored first to put the Panthers up 1-0. Mark Walton scored from Nathan Chen-Mack to tie the game. Trevor Yee put the Panthers back in the lead and the Walton Chen-Mack duo retaliated. It was the first of four straight Cougars’ goals, as Steve Axford, Colin Minardi and Graham Zagrodney scored to make it 5-2.

The league voted Cougars forward Sam Rice and Panthers defenceman and captain Jake Bryan as the respective playoff MVPs.

The Cougars return to the Cyclone Taylor Cup, provincial junior B championship for the first time since finishing third in 2009. This year’s tournament runs April 12 to 15 in Abbotsford.

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