Peninsula Panthers gear up for home stretch

Alberta Junior A champ Matt Sparrow is coming off injury and will soon join the team

The Peninsula Panthers hit the ice last Friday night to begin what should be a hectic final six weeks to their regular season schedule.

The club has a roster that could do real damage in the postseason and one that is now focused on putting up wins and gaining momentum as the VIJHL regular season moves into the home stretch.

General Manager Pete Zubersky said the goal is to continue bringing a solid game to home ice every week at the Panorama Recreation Centre.

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers capture pair of important weekend wins

“But we also want to show some big improvement on the road,” he added. “A team that finds success in the playoffs is a team that can win on the road and that will be a point of emphasis going into the final several weeks.”

The Panthers only one road game during the final stretch, when they travel to Nanaimo to play the Buccaneers on Jan. 24.

The rest of the schedule will be at home with five of the club’s last six games at Panorama. These last games will also see the addition of 19-year-old power forward Matt Sparrow.

At 6’2” and 220 pounds, Sparrow he will impact our lineup significantly, Zubersky said. “Sparrow can put the puck in the net and can really fly up and down the left side,” he noted.

A knee injury in September has kept the Alberta Junior A champ off the ice, but he is expected to arrive soon and Zubersky expects him at practice next week. “We will see how he is doing once he gets going out here on the Peninsula.”

RELATED: Panthers set to close out home schedule before Christmas break

The Panthers host the Kerry Park Islanders this Friday at 7:30 p.m. — the same club they played just prior to the break in a 4-2 victory.

The Islanders have had a solid campaign to date and although they’ve handled the majority of teams in the VIJHL, the Panthers have had their number.

“I’m not sure why but we seem to match up well against the Islanders,” said Zubersky, adding he expects Friday’s game to be a “dogfight.”

“Both clubs are really looking to put a win on the board and so I would expect that both squads will come in hungry after the Christmas break,” he said.

The puck drops Jan. 4 at Panorama Recreation Centre.

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