Friday evening at the Panorama Recreation Centre was a titanic battle between the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League leading Victoria Cougars and the hometown Peninsula Panthers. Trailing 3-2 with only 15 ticks left in the game, Panthers’ Josh Bloomenthal somehow managed to get a puck past Cougars’ netminder Evan Roch to send the exciting affair into overtime.
The five-minute extra frame would not settle anything between the two evenly matched squads, however it was the Cougars who managed to find a way to put two by Panthers’ goaltender Kyler Stern in the shootout and that was enough to send the visitors home with a victory.
Panthers captain Jake Bryan wired a blast past Roch midway through the first period, but it was the Cougars’ Steve Axford and Christopher Bannister who each notched goals in the second for the Cougars giving them a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Diminutive Kayle Ramsay tied the game early in the third period for the home Cats, however, when Axford replied only 15 seconds later, it would be up to Bloomenthal to push the issue into extra time.
Panthers coach Rob Armstrong felt Bloomenthal’s play on the goal late in the contest was the play of the game. He was disappointed with the loss, but not with the effort on the ice.
“The game plan was simple: outwork our opponent’s best players and stay out of the box. Our club competed hard for three periods but a couple of untimely and undisciplined penalties cost us a win in the end. Stern was solid between the pipes and really gave us an opportunity – I like his play as we near the playoffs.”
The team travelled to Comox on Saturday and were dropped by the Glacier Kings by a 6-4 count. The team just missed tying the game at fives with only two minutes left, but Comox managed to score the insurance marker with Panthers goaltender Zack Wear on the bench for the extra attacker. Joe Densmore, who as of late has been a one-man wrecking crew, scored all four markers for the Panthers and was unstoppable throughout the game – three via the powerplay on only five opportunities.
Armstrong indicated he has a couple irons in the fire as the trading deadline approaches on Tuesday night, Jan. 10, at midnight.
“Yes we have been burning up the lines the past several days and hopefully we will have a few surprises come next Friday night.”
The Panthers host the Oceanside Generals on Friday, Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Panorama Recreation Centre.