The Peninsula Panthers and the Campbell River Storm match up in Vancouver Island Jr. Hockey League playoffs for the third time in three years. Last season the Storm knocked off the Panthers in a hard-fought five-game series, albeit, it looked as though the series would be coming back to the Peninsula for Game 6 until a last-minute marker dashed any hopes of lengthening the series.
This time around, the Panthers appear to have a much stronger squad and with previous playoff experience against the Storm, the club is looking for a different result.
“We have as strong a defensive core as there is in the league, and if our goaltenders play at the level I believe they’re capable of, this will prove to be a great series,” said General Manager Pete Zubersky. “We have some experience up front and with the line of Josh Lingard, Riley Braun and Tanner Wort, we believe we can score some goals. Matthew Sparrow was a late addition to the team and I believe he can be one of the best players in the league in the playoffs. We have great leadership with our Captain, Thomas Spink and I am excited to get this series going.”
As the News Review went to press Tuesday night, the Panthers were up in Campbell River for Game 1 of the best-of-7 series. The Cats from the Peninsula will be back up Island on Friday night for Game 2 before returning to the friendly confines of the Panorama Recreation Centre on Sunday for Game 3 with a start time set for 5:30 p.m. And Monday night will see Game 4 once again at the Panorama with the two teams ready to do battle at 7:30 p.m.
“We had a great practice on Monday night and the kids were really jumping. As a group, we are ready to go. I know that the games in Campbell River will see 800 or 900 fans and it will be a hostile environment, and I hope our fan base can match that enthusiasm and intensity when we return to the Peninsula on Sunday and Monday,” said Zubersky.