The Peninsula Panthers are preparing to host the Oceanside Generals Friday night after an interesting week last week that saw the young team drop their gloves in a battle against the Westshore Wolves and take a tough loss to their feline foes, the Victoria Cougars.
Hockey Operations boss, Pete Zubersky said he isn’t a proponent of fighting in games, however the match against the Westshore Wolves on Wednesday, Oct. 3 saw the Panthers react to cheap shots from an older and obviously frustrated Wolves squad.
“The game turned a bit greasy in the late stages of the second period, and at one point they ran our goaltender (Stephen Heslop),” Zubersky said. “Our guys stuck up for each other and it was really a big moment for a team learning on the fly. I was proud of them.”
The young squad, who beat the Wolves 7-1, now has a .500 record going 5-5 over the first month of the regular season, and the team is so far meeting Zubersky’s expectations.
“I knew that we weren’t going to win a bunch of games coming out of the gate this season,” he explained. “We have a young group that comes from having almost entirely revamping our roster. I’ve thought all along that it would take ten games for our kids to start to gel, and now looking back as we prepare to host the Generals, we are exactly where I thought we would be … (ready) to put some wins up on the board.”
In last Friday’s game against the Victoria Cougars, the Panthers battled evenly, however a couple of lucky bounces on the Cougars’ part ultimately decided the outcome.
The two teams were tied at one apiece midway through the third, but the Cougars scored twice in a 12 second span and took away any chance of the Panthers making a comeback. The Cougars took the win 3-1, but head coach Rob Armstrong is still proud of the young team’s cohesion.
“The boys are coming together as a unit and are playing hard for one another,” said Armstrong. “Our penalty kill was stellar against a very strong power play and we generated lots of shots and scoring opportunities. I like the direction we are going.”
The Panthers take the ice against the Oceanside Generals Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Panorama Recreation Centre.