The Campbell River Storm blew into town last Friday night for the last time this Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League regular season, and although they fought hard, their efforts fell short against a determined Panthers team.
Cole Glover opened the scoring for the Panthers late in the first period, however two second period markers by Storm forward Alex Benjestorf gave the team a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Panthers power forward Dane Gibson tied the game during the third with 14 minutes left and set the stage for a dramatic final stretch.
The Panthers took the game lead with just over two minutes of play left when Patrick Croome slapped one into the Storm’s net.
But the shot was quickly answered when the Storm pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. With only 37 seconds left in the game, the Storm’s Joel Smith tied the game at 3-3 by sneaking one by the Panthers starting goaltender Stephen Heslop.
But again, the call was answered and young Panthers forward Josh Adkins sealed the deal for the team with only 18 seconds left. The locals prevailed with a 4-3 win.
“It was a crazy ending to a great game,” said hockey operations boss Pete Zubersky. “It looked like we had it when Croome scored, then we didn’t, and then we did again when Adkins scored. It was just crazy. When I was leaving the barn there were at least 10 fans who said they absolutely got their money’s worth that night.”
The Panthers currently hold the third spot in the VIJHL South Division and will have their hands full Friday night as they host the North Division leading Comox Valley Glacier Kings. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at Panorama Recreation Centre.