The Peninsula Panthers dropped two weekend games against the Victoria Cougars with injuries having decimated the Panthers’ depth on defence.
“We are more banged up right now than I have seen in perhaps the last 10 years,” said Pete Zubersky, general manager, after the Panthers lost 3-0 Friday on home ice, then 7-2 at Archie Browning Arena. We have three veteran defenceman, who are all out of the lineup right now due to injuries.” One of the team’s five rookie defenders is also injured, forcing the Panthers to play with just four (rather than six) defenders.
“We are also missing Josh Lingard, who is our engine up front and that is a crushing blow as well,” said Zubersky.
During Friday’s game, the Panthers played through a scoreless first period, before surrendering two goals late in the second period on their way to losing. Sunday’s game quickly turned against the Panthers, who found themselves down 4-1 after the first period and 6-1 after two periods.
The Panthers also found themselves out-shot during both games, 22-41 during Friday’s game and 20-41 during Sunday’s game.
After splitting their first four games against the Cougars, the Panthers now find themselves in the basement of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s South Division after having lost four straight against the Cougars. The two teams will renew their rivalry with two more games within 24 hours, starting Thursday, with the Panthers hosting the Cougars Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre.
Despite the most recent losses, Zubersky is also trying to see the positive from the weekend games. “As strange as this sounds, I was thrilled with the pair of games this weekend,” he said. They have given the Panthers’ younger players a chance to grow, albeit with pains along the way. “Two of the defencemen are 16 and two are 17 and I cannot believe the step forward they are taking,” said Zubersky, who calls the current development of the younger players “astounding” and expects it will eventually pay off. “When we get everyone back in the next week or two we will be a hard club to beat.”
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