JUNIOR B: Panthers’, Cougars’ cat fight reaches epic proportions: Game 7 Sunday in Esquimalt

Full preview for Game 7, Island league showdown in Esquimalt

It’s do or die, Game 7 today for the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League championship between the Victoria Cougars and the Peninsula Panthers.

Game time is 3 p.m. at the Archie Browning arena. The winner will travel to Fernie for the Cyclone Taylor Cup, provincial championship, which begins March 31.

The best-of-seven series is all tied at three games apiece as the Panthers won Game 6 to put the series on even terms with a 3-1 win on Friday.

What’s even more amazing about the fact the Island league’s Paterson Memorial Trophy will be hoisted in dramatic Game 7 fashion is that the series is still going.

Exactly seven days ago the Cougars took a stranglehold, 3-0 lead in the series, defeating Peninsula 3-0 at Archie Browning.

Peninsula are looking to achieve the rarest of feats, winning four straight after giving up the 3-0 lead.

Led by the stellar netminding of Nick Babich, who entered the series in Game 3, the Panthers battled back from the brink of death. Babich has gone on to post a 94.28 save percentage.

Playoff stats

Team Leaders:  Victoria – Trevor McNeil, 5 goals; Adam Steenbergen, 5 assists; Brandan Smith, 38 penalty minutes.  Peninsula – Cole Peterson, Joe Densmore, Kyle Peterson, 7 goals; Zach Mazo, 9 assists; Marshall Brome, 60 penalty minutes

Goaltenders:  Victoria – Corey Koop (1.58 goals against average, 94.64 save percentage); Zach Wear (no appearances).  Peninsula – Nick Babich (1.46 goals against average, 94.29 save percentage); Brady Berisoff (2.88 goals against average, 89.73 save percentage)

Power Play: Victoria – Home, 2-for-27 (7.41 percent).  Away, 5-for-19 (26.32 percent).  Totals, 7-for-46 (15.22 percent).  Peninsula – Home, 13-for-43 (30.23 percent).  Away, 2-for-18 (11.11 percent).  Totals, 15-for-61 (24.59 percent)

Penalty Kill: Victoria – Home, 18-for-19 (94.74 percent).  Away, 19-for-22 (86.36 percent). Totals, 37-for-41 (90.24 percent).  Peninsula – Home, 24-for-33 (72.73 percent).  Away, 20-for-23 (86.96 percent).  Totals, 44-for-56 (78.57 percent)

Playoff results

Game 1. Thursday, March 10. Peninsula Panthers 1 @ Victoria Cougars 4

Game 2.  Friday, March 11. Victoria Cougars 4 @ Peninsula Panthers 0

Game 3.  Sunday, March 13.  Peninsula Panthers 0 @ Victoria Cougars 3

Game 4. Monday, March 14.  Victoria Cougars 2 @ Peninsula Panthers 4

Game 5. Thursday, March 17. Peninsula Panthers 3 @ Victoria Cougars 2

Game 6. Friday, March 18. Victoria Cougars 1 @ Peninsula Panthers 3