Peninsula Panthers hope to ring in 2020 on a winning note

Peninsula Panthers hope to ring in 2020 on a winning note

After dropping final two games of 2019, second-place Panthers face leading Victoria Cougars Friday

The Peninsula Panthers will look to make a fresh start against a familiar rival in 2020 after losing their final two games of 2019.

The club returns to Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) action Jan. 3, 2020 with a home game at Panorama Recreation Centre against the league-leading Victoria Cougars, who are three points head of the Panthers in the league standing, with three games in hand. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

Head coach Brad Tippett said the first game back after a break is always tough. “We will have an intense practice Thursday night to get ready for the Cougars on Friday,” he said. “The existing rivalry we share is a built-in-motivator for both teams.”

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers seize league lead by winning two out of three

Friday’s game between the two best teams in the VIJHL also assembles its top talent as the Panthers feature three of the league’s five highest scorers: top scorer Tanner Wort (59 points), second-placed Riley Braun (53 points) and and fourth-placed Josh Lingard (46). Victoria, meanwhile, features third-placed Evan Easton (49 points) and fifth-placed Bryce Irwin (44 points).

The Panthers head into Friday’s heavy-weight clash with two straight losses against teams below them in the standings, having lost against 4-3 against the Storm in Campbell River on Dec. 20 before dropping their final home game before Christmas, 5-2 against the Saanich Braves on Dec. 22.

Tippett said results before the break did not reflect the team’s effort. “We played well in Campbell River, and it had a playoff atmosphere,” he said. “The Storm were hungrier as we had knocked them off all three previous meetings this season. Saanich was another story. We got good goal-tending but we shot ourselves in the foot by laziness on the defensive side of the puck coupled with some undisciplined penalties. The two losses were definitely a lump of coal in our stockings and we will learn from it.”

The Cougars meanwhile won their last two games before the break to move ahead of the Panthers, who remain at 50 points, seven points ahead of the Oceanside Generals, with no other team having cracked the 50-point plateau. The Panthers, in other words, are having an excellent season so far, with only the Cougars ahead of them.

“We have another gear, but the product we put on the ice has been good enough to win more than a few games this season,” said Tippett. “We will be better moving forward.”

Following Friday’s game, the Panthers will look to get some measure of revenge against the Saanich Braves at Pearkes Arena.

“On Sunday in Saanich we must make some changes in the way we attack,” said Tippett. “The small ice surface allows them to clog up the front of the net. Even though we have had 50-plus shots the last two games at Pearkes, there are just too many bodies clustered around the net to get quality shots through.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

VIJHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke woman almost falls for lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

Royal Bay Secondary School (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke School District alerts community to coronavirus positive case at Royal Bay secondary

Contact tracing underway after potential COVID-19 exposure Jan. 15

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read