Panthers’ Riley Braun and Hunter Jensen celebrate a goal during Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Westshore Wolves. The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) club can clinch its spot in the league’s semi-finals against the Victoria Cougars with a victory against the Wolves Friday at Panorama Recreation Centre, with the puck dropping at 7:30 p.m. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)

Peninsula Panthers one win from clinching playoff series against Westshore Wolves

Tanner Wort wins it for the Panthers in double-overtime after club kills off major penalty

The Peninsula Panthers are one win away from facing the Victoria Cougars in the semifinal of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) after beating the Westshore Wolves 4-3 in double-overtime Wednesday.

When Tanner Wort scored an unassisted goal early in the second overtime to break a 3-3 tie, he gave the Panthers a 3-1 series lead and a chance to clinch the playoff series on home ice Friday night, with the puck dropping 7:30 p.m. at the Panorama Recreation Centre.

“[Wort]’s goal is the biggest of the season for our club,” said Pete Zubersky, general manager. “That goal meant a two-game swing. If they [the Wolves] score it’s 2-2 in the series and game on. But we are up 3-1 and have a chance to close out the series at home Friday night. I know our barn will be juiced for Friday.”

RELATED: Panthers regain lead against Westshore Wolves in penalty-filled Game 3

Wednesday’s Game 4 played in Colwood’s The Q Centre was perhaps the most back-and-forth game of the series. After a sluggish start, the Panthers led by two goals halfway through the second period, when mistakes opened the door for the Wolves to get back into the game.

The momentum started to shift when a needless icing precipitated a face-off in the Panthers’ zone, with the Wolves gaining possession and converting to cut the Panthers’ lead into half. They then tied the game in the third period, only to see the Panthers regain the lead with less than four minutes left in the third period. But the Wolves showed resilience and tied the game on a powerplay with less than two minutes left after the Panthers had taken some needless risks.

The Panthers, however, then responded with a large dose of grit themselves during what Zubersky described as a “frantic” first overtime period during which Panthers’ Stefan Grunert conceded a five-minute major penalty with four minutes left. But the Wolves failed to capitalize. In fact, the Panthers scored the winning goal shortly after they had killed off the final minute of the powerplay early in the second overtime period.

The goal itself came about when the Wolves coughed up the puck into the neutral zone after Panthers’ forward Riley Braun had hurried a defender. Logan Speirs picked it up, wheeling through the neutral zone, before feeding the Panthers’ top scorer and league MVP Wort on the left side, where Wort made a cute toedrag but lost the puck temporarily before regaining control and snapping it towards the Wolves’ net.

“It rang off the right post and into the back of the net and our guys went nuts,” said Zubersky.

Wednesday’s victory was the first road victory for either team and no small feat for the Panthers, who had been struggling against the Wolves on the road.

“The Q Centre is a hard place to win,” said Zubersky. “There is no atmosphere and they have a huge advantage having played there all season long. But our guys brought our own energy [Wednesday night]. After giving up the equalizer with under two minutes left and then having to kill off a five-minute major in [over-time] really brought out the best in our club.”

The winner of the series will face the Victoria Cougars, who swept the Saanich Braves Tuesday with a 4-1 victory.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Peninsula Panthers

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

Just Posted

New immigrants to Victoria have online options to combat isolation

The Inter-Cultural Association is going digital to comply with COVID-19 standards

VicPD expands online reporting to keep 911 call-takers free during pandemic

Incidents can be reported online if no information is known of a suspect

Big band fundraiser show at Dunnet theatre rescheduled for Sept. 26

Jazz singer Joe Coughlin, band leader Phil Dwyer remain booked for show

Minor earthquake hits Greater Victoria Saturday morning

Earthquake ‘lightly felt’ in the area, Earthquake Canada says

“Isolation is normal for us,” says Saanich dad with cystic fibrosis

Gordon Head man says now’s the time to approve life-saving cystic fibrosis drug

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Most Read