Panthers’ #5 Stefan Grunert is fully engaged in a battle for the puck with Braves #13 James Vincent last Friday night at the Panorama Recreation Centre. (Gordon Lee Photography)

Panthers’ #5 Stefan Grunert is fully engaged in a battle for the puck with Braves #13 James Vincent last Friday night at the Panorama Recreation Centre. (Gordon Lee Photography)

Peninsula Panthers hope to defang suddenly hot Westshore Wolves

Peninsula enters the last five weeks of regular season with six of nine games played at home

The Peninsula Panthers will have a lot of good old home cooking as the final five weeks of the regular season are set to play out.

The club has nine games left in the schedule, six of which will be played at the Panorama Recreation Centre, which is a welcome break for a team that has struggled on the road. General manager Pete Zubersky and head coach Brad Tippett hope this trend will continue this Friday as their team welcomes in the suddenly hot Westshore Wolves.

Last Friday, Panthers were on the hunt for the equalizer before the Saanich Braves broke the game open with two late goals, winning 5–2. Chris Akerman absorbed the loss in goal for the Panthers blocking 21 of 26 shots while Anderson Violette picked up the win for the visitors and was good on 28 of 30 attempts sent his way. Carson Cox and Alexander Benger scored for the Panthers.

“We came out sluggish in our last two games up in Kerry Park last Saturday and then again on Friday against the Braves after really playing an outstanding game the Friday before in a 6-4 win against the Victoria Cougars,” said Zubersky. “I know that the coach has spoken with the leadership group in our room and has asked them to step it up and be ready to go. He wants to see the players take ownership and we have to have that to find success.”

The Panthers head up Island to Nanaimo on Thursday night to take on the Buccaneers before facing the Wolves on Friday.

“Nanaimo always plays a physical brand of hockey and it is always a battle whenever we skate at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. We know it and most of the VIJHL knows it. We want to make our barn one of the tougher rinks in the VIJHL to play in. We have a great atmosphere with our jumbotron and the best fan base in the South Division of our League and I know that Coach wants to own Friday nights,” said Zubersky

The club will get an opportunity against a good squad Friday with the puck set to drop at 7:30 p.m.