The Peninsula Panthers did something over the weekend that they had not done all season long – lose two games in a row. The duo of defeats – a 6-3 home loss against the Victoria Cougars and a 3-2 road loss against the Saanich Braves – underscored an old adage, the right effort sometimes yields the wrong results.
“It was a frustrating weekend to come up pointless after a good effort Friday and great effort Sunday,” said Brad Tippett, who found it hard to be upset with his players, who deserved a far better fate after putting in a full effort for 120 minutes on the weekend. “As the games get tighter, mistakes become more costly. We missed some scoring chances, took a couple less than genius penalties and gave up a couple of soft goals each game. Our offensive production had masked some of those mistakes until this weekend.”
The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s Panthers out-shot their opponents on both nights, only to run into two hot goaltenders, none more so than Saanich’s Robert Michetti, as the Panthers out-shot the Braves 57-28. Tippett suggests that this high shot total might have been a case of more smoke than fire.
“On Sunday, we had 20-plus shots that missed the net and 20-plus more that the goaltender easily gloved,” he said. “There are no rebounds from high shots or shots that missed the net. It’s just not the formula for success.”
Players who continue to shoot pucks over the net or off target will find themselves stapled to the bench or running the video camera, he said. “We have talked until we are blue in the face and this needs to sink in,” he added.
The Panthers also find themselves in an unfamiliar spot after the weekend, namely behind the Victoria Cougars, who have just as many points as the Panthers (36) but played three fewer games. Facing the Cougars at home, the Panthers led 3-1 early in the second period thanks to goals from Riley Braun, Denver Maloney and Mackenzie Benn-Whip, only to concede five straight goals, including three in less than six minutes. Three of the Panthers’ five losses have come against the Cougars.
Sunday, the Panthers had almost as many shots on goal in the first period (25) than the Braves during the game (28), only to find themselves tied 2-2. Graeme Getty scored the winning goal for Braves in the second period.
The Panthers will look to snap their losing streak when they travel to the West Shore on Wednesday evening to take on the Wolves. They return home Friday night when they welcome the Comox Valley Glacier Kings at Panorama Recreation Centre for their last visit of the season. The puck drops at 7:30 pm.
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