Peninsula Panthers looking to bounce back after loss

Big weekend looms as Panthers near the end of the 2015/15 VIJHL season.

Nanaimo Buccaneers’ forward Patrick Poets pastes Panthers’ defenceman Ryan Warner in a game in Nanaimo on Dec. 20.  The Bucs are at the Panorama Recreation Centre on Friday for what should be a hard-fought game.

NORTH SAANICH — In control of their own destiny, the Peninsula Panthers are looking to put in a couple workmanlike efforts this weekend and a devastating loss.

The Cats fell 6-3 to the visiting Oceanside Generals on Friday, Jan. 22 and this week, the Club is looking to get back into the win column.

They will have a couple huge tests: on Thursday in Esquimalt against the Victoria Cougars, and; at home this Friday when they welcome in the rugged and hard-working Nanaimo Buccaneers.

Last Friday night the Panthers never seemed to get on track. Although they outshot the visiting Generals, 45 to 36, they just could not score or did not receive the big save when they needed it most.  It was a fact that was not lost on Head Coach Rob Mortin.

“(Nanaimo’s) goaltender is a veteran and he made some huge saves when it really counted while their forwards seemed to capitalize on all of their chances,” he said. “We have a young rookie goaltender in Shawn Parkinson and a veteran in Alex Olson and we would love for one of these guys to really take the ball and run with it.

“Any team that wins has to have exceptional goaltending and we are looking for a bit of that right now.”

Parkinson played in Esquimalt when the Panthers played there three weeks ago and helped to take the Cougars to overtime.

“Shawn had a nice game and we really had a chance to beat them.  We will most likely give him the start on Thursday and see how he does and then make a decision after the game as to what our direction will be on Friday.

“I think our two guys have it in them to be exceptional. Our group needs that right now and we need it right through the remaining six games and through the playoffs.”

The Cougars saw their 22-game winning streak snapped last Sunday afternoon when the Buccaneers beat them 1-0 in overtime.

The Bucs’ goalie was the first star and was the difference in the game, the same result Mortin was looking for.

“I think our guys are every bit as good,” he said. “We all really need them to steal games for us that we might not deserve.

“It’s the time of year when you see what players have inside.  We need everyone to work, to perform.

“It starts in practice and then carries over to the games.  It will be a challenging weekend and I know our guys will be ready.”

The Buccaneers come in to the Panorama Recreation Centre for their final visit of the season in what is expected to be a hotly-contested affair.

Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.

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