Peninsula Panthers hope to ring in 2020 on a winning note

After dropping final two games of 2019, second-place Panthers face leading Victoria Cougars Friday

The Peninsula Panthers will look to make a fresh start against a familiar rival in 2020 after losing their final two games of 2019.

The club returns to Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) action Jan. 3, 2020 with a home game at Panorama Recreation Centre against the league-leading Victoria Cougars, who are three points head of the Panthers in the league standing, with three games in hand. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

Head coach Brad Tippett said the first game back after a break is always tough. “We will have an intense practice Thursday night to get ready for the Cougars on Friday,” he said. “The existing rivalry we share is a built-in-motivator for both teams.”

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers seize league lead by winning two out of three

Friday’s game between the two best teams in the VIJHL also assembles its top talent as the Panthers feature three of the league’s five highest scorers: top scorer Tanner Wort (59 points), second-placed Riley Braun (53 points) and and fourth-placed Josh Lingard (46). Victoria, meanwhile, features third-placed Evan Easton (49 points) and fifth-placed Bryce Irwin (44 points).

The Panthers head into Friday’s heavy-weight clash with two straight losses against teams below them in the standings, having lost against 4-3 against the Storm in Campbell River on Dec. 20 before dropping their final home game before Christmas, 5-2 against the Saanich Braves on Dec. 22.

Tippett said results before the break did not reflect the team’s effort. “We played well in Campbell River, and it had a playoff atmosphere,” he said. “The Storm were hungrier as we had knocked them off all three previous meetings this season. Saanich was another story. We got good goal-tending but we shot ourselves in the foot by laziness on the defensive side of the puck coupled with some undisciplined penalties. The two losses were definitely a lump of coal in our stockings and we will learn from it.”

The Cougars meanwhile won their last two games before the break to move ahead of the Panthers, who remain at 50 points, seven points ahead of the Oceanside Generals, with no other team having cracked the 50-point plateau. The Panthers, in other words, are having an excellent season so far, with only the Cougars ahead of them.

“We have another gear, but the product we put on the ice has been good enough to win more than a few games this season,” said Tippett. “We will be better moving forward.”

Following Friday’s game, the Panthers will look to get some measure of revenge against the Saanich Braves at Pearkes Arena.

“On Sunday in Saanich we must make some changes in the way we attack,” said Tippett. “The small ice surface allows them to clog up the front of the net. Even though we have had 50-plus shots the last two games at Pearkes, there are just too many bodies clustered around the net to get quality shots through.”


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 council keeps its catered lunches at more than $10,000 per year

Two councillors tried to eliminate the expense, with widespread rejection

UPDATED: 12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Protesters rallied against Coastal GasLink pipeline

High-rise hotel proposed for downtown Victoria location

A 15-storey hotel could be coming to the Fort and Blanshard streets area

Consumer bankruptcies down in Greater Victoria

More residents are making alternative arrangements to settle their debts

Restrictions on unrelated occupants dominates Saanich council meeting

Saanich council sends issue of unrelated occupancy limits to public hearing

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Island river

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Vancouver Island man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car impounded after Port Alberni driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Most Read