Sports

Peninsula Panthers ready for the playoffs

Peninsula Panther Reece Costain sheds his mitts in a scuffle against Saanich Braves player Liam Sproule in VIJHL action earlier this season. The Panthers will have to fight hard as round one of the playoffs against the Victoria Cougars looms just ahead. - Gordon Lee Photography 
Peninsula Panther Reece Costain sheds his mitts in a scuffle against Saanich Braves player Liam Sproule in VIJHL action earlier this season. The Panthers will have to fight hard as round one of the playoffs against the Victoria Cougars looms just ahead.
— image credit: Gordon Lee Photography 

The Peninsula Panthers’ 48-game regular season schedule is rapidly coming to a close as the team prepares to host the Victoria Cougars this Friday evening.

For the Panthers, the game on Friday will more than likely be a preview to the best-of-seven first round playoffs which start the third week of February.

The Cougars have locked up first place in the South Division of the league, while it appears as though the Panthers will be locking up fourth place, making the head-to-head collision inevitable.

“I think the schedule makers have really treated us well,” said Peninsula Hockey Operations Manager Pete Zubersky.

“We play them three times in a row with the middle game being this Friday, so I’m looking at this as a mini-series and the timing couldn’t be better. It will allow us to get geared up for when it counts and I believe we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”

The Panthers lost two games this weekend including a 7-2 loss on Friday night against the Nanaimo Buccaneers, however Zubersky did not seem fazed by the result.

“At times we played hard and looked like a veteran playoff hardened bunch, other times we played soft,” he explained.

“I think we all understand that any success that we find will be a result of hard work from the first faceoff to the final buzzer. I think we have the ability to surprise which we did last year in the playoffs when we made it to the VIJHL finals.”

Panthers’ Head Coach Brian Passmore said the team is going to have to tighten up their game before going into the finals.

“We have to start cutting down our mistakes, scoring when we get chances and playing a patient game, as well as focus on great goaltending.”

A large crowd is expected with the two local teams facing off on Friday at Panorama Recreation Centre where the puck will drop at 7:30 p.m.

 

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