Peninsula Panthers set to clash with Cougars in playoff

The two bitter opponents open a best-of-seven semi-final playoff series tonight in Esquimalt.

In a game against the Victoria Cougars earlier this season

NORTH SAANICH — The Peninsula Panthers and Victoria Cougars will renew their long-time rivalry tonight (March 10) .

The two bitter opponents open a best-of-seven semi-final playoff series Thursday, March 10 at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt.

The Cougars dispatched of the Kerry Park Islanders in short order, knocking them off in four straight games. The Panthers overcame the Westshore Wolves in six.

“We are decided underdogs in this series, there is no doubt about that,” explained General Manager Pete Zubersky.  “Our kids are younger and have less experience but we are not short on heart and I believe that will show in this series.

“We have really come a long way this season.  We had six wins after 22  games had been played but our kids finally figured it out … and we have been as good as anyone in the league the last half of the season. We had a battle on our hands but came out on the right side of the scoreboard four times to send the Wolves packing and, to a man, we are looking forward to the series against the Cougars.”

Against the top club in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL), the Panthers managed two wins and an overtime loss in eight regular season games this season.  The Cougars only lost five games the entire season.

“Yes, this is like David and Goliath in a sense,” said Zubersky. “But we are going into this series to win it, that is clearly the mindset of our group. I tell our guys that in the playoffs there will be plenty of ups and downs and to not get too high or too low.  It takes four wins to move on, we are all excited to be in this position.”

The Panthers will play games two and four at the Panorama Recreation Centre on Friday and Monday nights and if a game 6 is required, it will be back at Panorama the following Friday evening.

All home games are set to start at 7:30 p.m..  For schedule information check out articles on the Panthers’ website at ppanthers.bc.ca or the league website at vijhl.com.   — News staff