Three goals in less than nine minutes during the second period powered the Peninsula Panthers past the Victoria Cougars Friday night at North Saanich’s Panorama Recreation Centre in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) action.
League-leading scorer Riley Braun capped the three-goal outburst with his 28th goal after Aleko Sdrakas and Ethan Lingard each scored within less than two minutes during the opening phase of the second period. While the Cougars pulled within one goal, they failed to find an equalizer as Ashton Lukan saved 29 out of 31 shots.
With the victory, the Panthers find themselves nine points behind the Cougars in the South Division with 43 points, good enough for third-best in the overall league standings.
Friday’s victory means that the Panthers have won 23 of a possible 26 points in their last 13 games during what Panthers’ owner and general manager Pete Zubersky called a real tough stretch in their schedule.
“We will have to keep it going moving (toward) the Christmas break and cannot take our foot off the pedal before then,” he said. “On Friday night we had a whole bunch of ditch diggers who were willing to do the dirty work to get the win for the club and that was a lot of fun to see. Our goaltending has really come around and that too is key in this current run we are on. I feel like we are starting to play the type of game that will work in the post-season. We have been making teams earn everything they are getting and that is winning hockey.”
The Panthers’ formula will face two big tests when the team faces the Westshore Wolves (Dec. 15) and the Oceanside General (Dec. 18) on the road. The Panthers return to home ice on Wednesday, Dec. 29 when they host the Kerry Park Islanders at Panorama Recreation Centre. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
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