Snipers Josh Lingard, Riley Braun and Tanner Wort look to be one of the top trios in the VIJHL this season. (Gordon Lee photos)

Peninsula Panthers battle rival Saanich Braves to open season

BCHL hockey returns to Panorama Recreation Centre on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Peninsula Panthers usher in the 2019/20 season with a battle against cross-town rivals the Saanich Braves for the club’s home opener Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre.

“Last Friday we knocked off the Wolves in our final exhibition game of the season and we want to see some of that momentum carry into our opener,” said Panthers GM Pete Zubersky.

“There is a single mindset with the coaching staff and players – they all want and believe they can win. We need to put some wins up in September this time around, they all count the same as a win in February. I expect that we will be ready when the puck hits the ice on Friday. We’ll see what happens.”

RELATED: Panthers knocked out of playoffs by powerful Storm

The local Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League club has made a number of moves since the heart-pounding seven-game playoff series against the Campbell River Storm last March. This time around the team promises a faster and deeper lineup. Many key veterans return for a run at a championship including top line of Tanner Wort, Josh Lingard and Riley Braun.

Three 20-year-old defencemen – Thomas Spink, Alex Benger and Skyler Diamond-Burchuk – are in place, which some pundits believe will give the “Cats” the strongest defensive corps in the league. Connor McKillop is back guarding the pipes and looks to get the start when the Braves visit Panorama Recreation Centre Friday at 7:30 p.m.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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