The Peninsula Panthers Jr. Hockey Club scored 17 goals in opening the new Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) season with back-to-back wins.
The Panthers opened the season with a 9-4 victory over the Saanich Jr. Braves at Panorama Recreation Centre. Leading 2-1 during the first period, the Panthers scored seven straights goals including four in the second period to put the game out of reach. Three third-period goals by the Braves turned out to be merely cosmetic.
The Panthers then continued to find their scoring form on the road by beating the Kerry Park Islanders 8-1 in Mill Bay. Matthew Sparrow with three goals and one assist, Riley Braun with two goals and two assists, and Josh Lingard with one goal and three assist were the most prolific Panthers over the weekend.
“Both nights we had all 20 players pulling in same direction and pulling for each other,” said Brad Tippett, head coach, on the team’s website. “I think this is perhaps the best lineup we have iced to start a season in many, many years,” said Pete Zubersky, general manager.
The South Division-leading Panthers return to action Friday night at 7:30 when they will host the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. The club will then head to Campbell River to play what officials call a “heavily anticipated matchup against the Storm.
The Panthers and the Storm had met in last year’s opening playoff round, with the Storm beating the Panthers four games to three after being the Panthers had three out of the first four games. The first-seeded Storm then advanced all the way to the final of the VIJHL, where they lost four games to one against the second-seeded Victoria Cougars.