The Peninsula Panthers have been almost perfect in five home games this season but they will be put to their toughest test this Friday night when they welcome the Victoria Cougars.
The Panthers currently have four wins, three losses, an overtime loss and a double-overtime tie in the 2013/14 VIJHL season so far.
The team has played against the Cougars twice already this fall at the Archie Browning arena, losing in double-overtime, 6-5 and then being knocked off, 7-5 after the Cougars drove an insurance marker into an empty net with the Panthers’ goaltender on the bench for the extra attacker.
Both games could have gone either way and Friday’s game is one that both squads are looking forward to, said Panthers’ hockey operations manager Pete Zubersky.
“We’ve really been banged up the last couple weeks and also had Reece Costain out with a suspension,” he explained.
“We will hopefully have quite a few of our guys back and we should be ready to go on Friday. Games this early in the season are not make or break and we feel we can compete with anyone in the VIJHL this season. I expect that our kids will come up with a big effort.”
This past weekend the Panthers split a pair of games, beating the Westshore Wolves, 5-3 at the Panorama Recreation Centre on Friday night before being stopped in Mill Bay, 4-2 by the Kerry Park Islanders.
On Friday, goalie Stephen Heslop blocked 28 of 30 shots directed his way and Panthers Connor Logan, Tate Coughlin, Grayson Vickers and Brett Sjerven tallied up goals for the team.
On Saturday Joey Karrer was between the pipes for the Panthers and stopped 26 of 29 shots sent in his direction. The final goal was scored into the empty net with Karrer on the bench for the extra attacker.
The Panthers travel to Nanaimo tomorrow evening to take on the VIJHL North Division leading Buccaneers before returning home for the game Friday against the Cougars. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. at the Panorama and a large crowd is expected.