NORTH SAANICH — The Peninsula Panthers and Oceanside Generals will be meeting each other on February 20 in a sudden-death knockout game.
Probably more important than the two points that was up for grabs last Friday night was the opportunity for one of the clubs to send an early message to the other. The Panthers did just that in the last regular season contest between the two when they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead early in the first period and played text book hockey the rest of the way and came away with a 4-1 win.
Kai Turner had a goal and a couple helpers to lead the scoring parade while Bailey Ross, Drew Coughlin and Thomas Spink — with his first Junior hockey goal — added singles.
Big Justin Anderson played his size between the pipes for the “Cats” from the Peninsula blocking 23 of 24 shots while his counterpart, Wesley Ellingsen, was not quite as effective in stopping 33 of 37 attempts directed his way.
Marshall Brown had two assists and was named the game’s first star while Anderson and Spink picked up the other two selections, respectively.
The Panthers brought up three affiliate forwards from the Peninsula Midget AA squad and they played on a line together and started the game.
Fifteen-year-old Riley Braun and 16-year-olds Josh Lingard and Tanner Wort played a regular shift and more, and and who looked like a 20-year-old veteran for the most part.
Braun and Lingard were awarded helpers when Ross opened the scoring 2:48 in.
Head Coach Brad Tippett was pleased with the win.
“It was a very solid effort from everyone in the lineup,” he said. “Twenty-year-old Kai Turner must have sometimes felt like he was babysitting tonight with the young kids playing in the game.
“We have the youngest team in the VIJHL by far and were even younger on the evening when we brought in the Midget AA players. Everyone took a defence-first attitude. We managed the puck better with simple and less risky plays. Justin Anderson gave us a chance to win and looked confident stopping the puck.”
As the PNR was going to press Monday, the Panthers were playing host to the Westshore Wolves.
The locals will be back at home at the Panorama Recreation Centre on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. when they will look to knock off the high-flying Victoria Cougars.