The Peninsula Panthers had a bad start to the 2018/19 VIJHL season, according to team owner Pete Zubersky, but things certainly seem to be turning around.
“We were all surprised by the start we had in our first five games,” said Zubersky. “I wish we could have those games back. But it was a great lesson about working hard and determination. Nothing is for free and every win has to be earned. I think Coach Tippett has the boys all on the same page and I can see we are getting better each time out.”
After opening with five straight losses, albeit one in overtime, the team has now won three of their last four games. The only blemish in those last four was a 5-4 double-overtime setback while on the road in Nanaimo last Thursday.
On Thursday, both teams looked like they might be two of the elite squads in the VIJHL as they went toe-to-toe. The Panthers scored two late in the game to send it into overtime and it looked like they had it won when Josh Lingard broke in all alone in the first overtime, but was turned aside. Luck was on the Buccaneers side. The Panthers broke out of their own zone, the referee inadvertently bumped the puck carrier and it resulted in a turnover, and ended with the puck in the Panthers’ net to a nail-biting night.
The ‘Cats’ from the Peninsula did not have a moment to lick their collective wounds as they welcomed the Kerry Park Islanders to Panorama Recreation Centre on Friday. It did not look good early and by the 1:46 mark of the 2nd stanza, with the club looking at a 2-0 deficit. But the group seemed to awaken and over the remaining 38 minutes, they hit pay dirt four unanswered times to put a 4-2 win in the books. Scoring the locals were Zack Evans, Josh Lingard, Logan Speirs and Jack Taylor. Chris Akerman picked up the win between the pipes blocking 26 of 28 Islanders’ scoring attempts.
ThePanthers host the Comox Valley Glacier Kings for their first of two visits this season Friday night. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m.