The Peninsula Panthers extended their winning streak to five games by beating the Saanich Predators twice and the Kerry Park Islanders once in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) regular season action.
Riley Braun had six assists as the Panthers beat the Saanich Predators 6-3 Wednesday night on the road. The return match Thursday afternoon at Panorama Recreation Centre was more competitive, but the Panthers nonetheless prevailed 4-3 with Reid Fryer scoring the winning goal with less than eight minutes left in the third period.
The Panthers then completed their trio of wins with a 5-1 victory over the Kerry Park Islanders on Friday night with Braun scoring twice, while his brother Payton had three assists. Tristan Rosenblood, Tanner and Logan Speirs also scored for the Panthers, who led 5-o after two periods.
The Panthers now have 30 points out of 25 games, good for second place in the South Division behind the Victoria Cougars (40 points) and third place overall behind the Campbell River Storm with 38 points.
Head coach Brad Tippett praised the team for having a productive week.
“We received good efforts from everybody, our special teams worked well, we got good goaltending and we played together as a team,” he said. “We are still battling the injuries on defence, so it was gratifying to see everyone do the little things to help our guys out back there. Having the upcoming next few days off, I think will really help heal some mental and physical fatigue.”
General manager and owner Pete Zubersky was especially pleased with his team’s performance during Friday’s game, the third in 48 hours.
“I didn’t know what to expect other than I knew they (Kerry Park Islanders) would come out hard to open the game,” he said. “Ashton Lukan gave us some great minutes between the pipes until we found our footing and then we took the game over.”
The Panthers drew crowds of 300 and 200 on Thursday afternoon and Friday night, a positive development for Zubersky.
“The crowds are starting to come back after well over a year of quiet rinks and that’s exciting,” he said. “We will have a big test this coming week going into Victoria on Thursday and having the Wolves next Friday night. We now have five wins in a row and the club is hitting on most all cylinders.”
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