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Peninsula Panthers deep-six Oceanside Generals to lead VIJHL finals by two games

The Peninsula Panthers play Game 3 Sunday in Parksville and host Game 4 Monday in North Saanich
Captain Riley Braun scored twice and added three assists as the Peninsula Panthers beat the Oceanside Generals 6-1 Friday night at North Saanich Panorama Recreation Centre to take a two-game lead in the finals of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). (Christian J. Stewart Photography/Submitted)

The Peninsula Panthers are leading the finals of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) by two games to none after drilling the Oceanside Generals 6-1 Friday, but general manager and owner Pete Zubersky says a lot of heavy lifting remains to be done.

“This series is in its early stages and I expect a huge push back tonight (Sunday) up in Oceanside for Game 3 and back here at the Panorama for Game 4 Monday night,” he said.

This said, Zubersky also has a lot of praise for his team after Friday’s victory at North Saanich’s Panorama Recreation, as 450 fans saw Panthers lead 2-1 after the first period, thanks to goals from Payton Braun and his brother Riley, and 3-1 after two periods following a goal by Logan Speirs. His second goal of the contest, scored on the powerplay, was the first of a three-goal outburst that clinched the game for the hosts.

Friday’s run-away victory came after a tense opening game Wednesday night that saw the Panthers prevail 2-1.

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers grab early VIJHL final lead with 2-1 win in Parksville

Overall, Speirs finished the game with two goals and two assists. Riley Braun finished with two goals and three assists while Payton had one goal and two assists. Ashton Lukan stopped 29 out of 30 shots.

“Our best players were our best players and our goaltending was stellar,” said Zubersky, who also praised the Panthers’ work in their own end.

“The Generals have scored two goals in two games and needless to say, our team defence over the past two wins has been the best it has been all season long,” he said. “This truly has a team effort thus far.”

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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