The Peninsula Panthers extended their home winning streak to four with a 3-0 win at the Panorama Recreation Centre. Two goals by Tanner Wort, a single marker off the stick of Jake Gajda, and some sensational goaltending from Connor McKillop were enough to turn back the Westshore Wolves and to allow the streak to continue. The organization and fan base look forward to the challenge when the North Division leading Campbell River Storm are set to arrive on the Peninsula this Friday.
“We just passed the quarter way mark of the season and it took the first five games to disprove the scientific experiment that a team can ‘play great for only a period’ and still win,” said Head Coach Brad Tippett. “Over the last eight games we have had more consistent efforts, a better buy-in and more resiliency when things go off track. One of the goals going into the season was to make our opponents a little gun shy of Friday nights at Panorama and the last month we have achieved that and have been a very difficult team to play against. We have protected our home ice, our building. I now run into people on the street who are telling me — ‘Hey I saw the game last week, wow, those Panthers are playing for keeps.’ We still have a long way to go especially finishing offensively — each day is about doing our best and getting better.”
The Panthers travel to Comox on Saturday to take on the Glacier Kings, overnight in the Comox Valley, and then complete a three-game weekend on Sunday afternoon with the back end of the home-and-home series against the Storm. Tippett discussed the Club’s busy upcoming schedule, “I have always believed good scheduling is worth 3-4 extra wins a year. We plan our schedule around school, travel, weather, incorporating two game home-and-home series, and spreading out our opponents. This year we wanted to add a couple 3 games in 3 nights and specifically an early overnight trip for team building. This is something our players have talked about since the season started. Three games plus travel will be a mental and physical challenge. As coaches we must adjust our thinking as well in terms of bench management and player fatigue. My message to the players was ‘Time to put your big-boy pants on.’”
Tippett and his troops look to run their win streak to five when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Panorama.