NORTH SAANICH — In the friendly confines of the Panorama Recreation Centre Friday, Oct. 16, the Peninsula Panthers were Riders of the Storm, as they clawed their way to a heart-pounding 3-2 win.
But on Sunday afternoon up in Campbell River, the same two clubs tangled in the back end of the home-and-home weekend series and this time, the Panthers were declawed.
Campbell River opened up a 5-0 lead midway through the first period on Sunday and Peninsula quickly became Storm chasers.
The locals could not quell this Storm and were upended after all was said and done by a 6-2 count.
In Friday’s match, Cam Thompson opened the scoring for Peninsula late in the first period.
With only 1:46 having been played in the second frame, it was the Storm’s Colin Blake who would knot the score after a defensive miscue. That allowed Blake to walk in all alone on Panthers’ starting goaltender Alex Olson.
Midway through the stanza, Matt Forbes blasted a shot from the left point that bounced off the chest of the visitors’ stopper Billy Gorn. The Panthers’ Kai Turner wasted no time in banging home the rebound.
Before the period was over the Storm would strike once again. At the 12:22 mark, Brett Witala beat Olson and the two teams retired to the dressing rooms tied at 2-2.
This set the stage for Thompson’s heroics.
Sent in all alone on a nifty pass from Forbes, Thompson waited until Gorn dropped to his knees and then he deftly ripped the disk over his glove hand to the awaiting cage.
Both teams exchanged several chances and the Storm yanked their goaltender in the last minute for the extra attacker . Olson held firm and the Panthers walked away with the 3-2 win.
On Sunday, 16-year-old Shawn Parkinson got the start between the pipes for Peninsula and perhaps a ramped-up crowd gave the youngster a bit too much to think about.
Only 14:36 into the game, Parkinson had given up five goals and that would spell the end to his night.
Olson went into the game and allowed only one goal the rest of the way. His teammates responded with two second period tallies by Ty Hermsen and Thompson.
But it clearly was too little too late.
“I liked our weekend,” explained Pete Zubersky, Panthers’ general manager. “We played hard both and competed for both games.
“One went our way and the other one did not but that is hockey. Parkinson would have liked to have started over in Campbell River but he is such a young goaltender and that was a big stage for him. I know that next time he will be way better, this is just part of the development track for young players like him.
“I told him on the bench that he will play great next weekend and will win a big game for us, it was still a hard pill for him to swallow. The kid is going to be a really good one, he cares a lot.”
The Panthers take on the Kerry Park Islanders on Friday night back at Panorama in a big Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League South Division tilt.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.