The Panthers’ Matthew Seale (#7) goes down to block a shot in front of goaltender Connor McKillop Friday evening in VIJHL action as the Panthers beat the league-leading Victoria Cougars 6-4. McKillop earned his 20th victory as the Panthers outshot the Cougars 36-34. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)

Peninsula Panthers beat league leaders but lose to Saanich over the weekend

Panthers followed their 6-4 victory against the Victoria Cougars with an 8-3 loss against Saanich Braves

Two teams wore the same Peninsula Panthers’ uniform over the weekend as the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League club split their two games.

When Logan Speirs sealed the Panthers’ 6-4 home victory against league-leading Victoria with an empty-net goal in front of a home crowd at Panorama Recreation Centre, the team sent a message to the rest of the league. Less than 48 hours later, they found themselves on the losing end of a crushing 8-3 defeat against the Saanich Braves.

This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde imitation was not lost on team officials. “I have been around the [junior] game for a lot of years and the one thing you can always count on in junior hockey is that you cannot count on anything,” quipped Pete Zubersky, the team’s general manager. “This weekend proved just that.”

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers hope to ring in 2020 on a winning note

Friday night, the Panthers battled back not once, but twice from deficits. Trailing early in the third period after Victoria’s go-ahead goal, the Panthers punished the Cougars on consecutive penalties, scoring two powerplay goals in less than three minutes to take the lead. The Panthers’ leading trio of Lingard, Tanner Wort, and Riley Braun racked up five out of the six possible points during this decisive phase of the game. The Panthers then protected the lead until Speirs’ clinching goal.

“I thought our club played their hearts out Friday night, they were ready to go and deserved the win, what a game,” said Zubersky.

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers make statements on and off the ice

Friday’s emotional high was short-lived as the Saanich Braves, 24 points behind the Panthers heading into Sunday’s afternoon game, scored eight goals on 30 shot including an empty-netter in their victory against the Panthers, who shot the puck 60 times.

“On Sunday, their goaltender stood on his head and although we doubled the shots on the Braves, they came out on top where it counted,” said Zubersky.

Connor Cheyne, who had previously played for the Braves, took the loss.

The Panthers will look to make amends, but not before the right lessons from the weekend, which has left them in second place overall, three points behind the Cougars, who have three games in hand, with the playoffs on the horizon.

“We can’t get too high or too low,” said Zubersky. “We have 13 games left before playoffs and it’s time that we buckled down and started to work at being playoff ready. It has to start from the goaltender on out, simplify the game, get pucks out and get pucks in. That is the formula of winning hockey and always has been.”

The Panthers will head to Archie Browning Arena on Thursday night to take on the Cougars before returning to Panorama on Friday, when they will host the North Division-leading Oceanside Generals, with a large crowd expected to watch the puck drop at 7:30 p.m.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria PD will continue to patrol James Bay for wolf seen Saturday

But police also say they will return to regular duties

Local Monarchist says Saanich Peninsula would be a ‘great place’ for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Bruce Hallsor also expects the couple’s professional opportunities to lie outside Greater Victoria

Court rejects mistrial for accused Victoria drug dealer who fired his lawyer

Horst Schirmer filed a mistrial application on basis of receiving incompetent representation

Saanich seeks young residents to serve on 2020 advisory committees

Youth members must be between 16 and 24 years old

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read