Cougars get set to take on Panthers Thursday

The Victoria Cougars cap off a four-game home stand against the Peninsula Panthers Thursday.

The Victoria Cougars cap off a four-game home stand against the Peninsula Panthers Thursday.

After opening the home stand with a pair of losses, Victoria rebounded for a 7-2 win over the Westshore Wolves last Thursday.

The seven goal outburst tied a season high for the Cougars.

Owen Dalman and Tyler Vanuden scored twice while Akila Sato-Gaudreau, Ryan Vorster, and James Scott each added singles.

Goaltender Anthony Ciurro made 29 saves for only his fifth win of the season.

Thursday marks the third of eight regular season meetings between the Cougars and Panthers — South Island Division rivals.

Victoria is perfect in its previous two matchups against the Panthers this season, winning 4-3 on Sept. 15 and 7-4 two weeks later at the Panorama Recreation Centre.

Nick Gomerich, Grayden Hohl, and Vanuden leads all Cougars players in points scored against Peninsula this season with six.

Victoria has a sizable special teams edge in the season series, going 5-for-11 on the power play and 13-for-14 on the penalty kill.

Eight of the next nine Cougars games are against teams within their division.

With one of the youngest lineups in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL), Peninsula has endured some growing pains.

The Panthers have scored the least amount of goals and allowed the most amount of goals of any VIJHL team. Their goal differential is a staggering -47.

Michael Sproule is having a career year for Peninsula. After totalling 16 points in 43 games last season, the 19-year-old power forward leads all Panthers players in scoring with nine goals and seven assists.

With goal scoring an issue, Peninsula head coach and director of hockey operations Brad Tippett recently pulled off a one-for-one deal with the Saanich Braves.

In that deal, Tippett landed 17-year-old forward Drew Coughlin in exchange for 19-year-old defenseman and former Cougar Mitch Moloney.

Coughlin, whose older brother Tate played two seasons for the Western Hockey League Kelowna Rockets and now plays for the British Columbia Hockey League Nanaimo Clippers, has one goal and four assists in five games since arriving on the scene.

Look for the younger Coughlin make the jump to junior A next year.

Sproule leads all Panthers players in points scored against Victoria this season with four.

Elsewhere in the VIJHL, the Oceanside Generals travel to Nanaimo to take on the Buccaneers at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

The Victoria Cougars take on the Peninsula Panthers at the Archie Browning Sports Centre (1151 Esquimalt Rd.) at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

 

 

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