Is a rematch of the 2011 VIJHL finals in store? Chris Savage

Is a rematch of the 2011 VIJHL finals in store? Chris Savage

A tale of two Saaniches: How the defending B.C. champs have become underrated

Saanich Braves at Peninsula Panthers (VIJHL semifinal tied 1-1)

Game 3: Tonight (March 9), 7:30 p.m. at Panorama.

For a team coming off two straight Island championships and a the B.C. championship, the Peninsula Panthers sure get a bad rap.

Maybe it’s because they finished the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season in fifth place with 17 wins, less than half of the first-place Victoria Cougars’ 36.

Maybe it’s an unfair assessment based on the mid-season change of ownership, which had a negative affect on the team, including the departure of the talented Peterson brothers tandem of Cole and Kyle.

Or maybe it’s because their Saanich rivals absolutely devoured them in their last five meetings this season, with the Braves outscoring the Panthers 34-9.

Or maybe it’s a little bit from each.

“We came in with seven returning players from last year’s gold-meal squad,” said head coach Rob Armstrong. “And yes, we lost some good players, including Evan Campbell, who was incredible for this team as a player and a leader.

“But this season had its distractions, with the financial stuff. And we’ve been bringing along some rookies as well, seeing how this team thrives in the playoffs.”

The ownership situation was particularly sour for fans, Armstrong said.

“Crowds have grown recently. And home ice is going to be an advantage again for us, where it wasn’t at mid-season.”

Armstrong was on the bench as an assistant coach to former owner Jackson Penney when the Panthers won everything but the Keystone Cup, Western Canadian championship last year.

He believes his team has the firepower to challenge for another VIJHL championship.

But to do it, the team needs its big guns to execute, especially on the powerplay.

Which means quarterback Jake Bryan, hometown boy Trevor Yee and talented Whitehorse imports Joe Densmore and David Stephens taking the lead on the first unit, which they did on Wednesday with three goals.

“Our powerplay had been inconsistent most of the season. It has to be better. (Overall) we have the firepower but we don’t have a large margin of error. Granted (the Braves) are a good team, and we have to play well.”

 

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

Just Posted

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read