Panthers’ #4 Skyler Diamond-Burchuk battles for the puck on Sunday afternoon in a 2-1 win against the Saanich Braves. Riley Braun (#10) and Josh Lingard (#8) look to gather in any loose pucks. (Photo by Gordon Lee)

Panthers’ #4 Skyler Diamond-Burchuk battles for the puck on Sunday afternoon in a 2-1 win against the Saanich Braves. Riley Braun (#10) and Josh Lingard (#8) look to gather in any loose pucks. (Photo by Gordon Lee)

Peninsula Panthers notch a pair of close wins

Team travels to Nanaimo for a Thursday tilt

The Peninsula Panthers clawed their way to a couple of close wins on the weekend over division rivals Esquimalt Cougars and Saanich Braves.

The Panthers eked out a 2-1 win on home ice on the strength of a goal late in regulation play. Jack Taylor’s initial shot was stopped, but Jonah Ragsdale banged in the rebound with 23 seconds to play. Carl Ewert had opened the scoring for the Cougars in the first period before the Panthers tied it up on a goal by defenceman Alex Benger, with assists from captain Thomas Spink and Taylor. Peninsula goaltender Connor McKillop’s strong effort was rewarded with his selection as the game’s first star.

The Panthers earned a 2-1 victory over the Saanich Braves in dramatic fashion on Sunday when Josh Lingard, the team’s leading scorer, fired home the winner just 29 seconds into the second overtime period. The Braves had taken the lead late in the second period on a goal by Graeme Getty before the Panthers knotted the score at the 13:16 mark of the third period on a goal by Carson Cox.

The Panthers’ Vancouver Island Junior Hockey league season continues this week with a road game against the Nanaimo Buccaneers Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by a Friday night home game against the Kerry Park Islanders at the Panorama Recreation Centre at 7:30 p.m.

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