Panthers’ Mackenzie Benn-Wipp (No. 14) battles for a loose puck with Saanich Braves’ Graham Getty in VIJHL action Friday night. (Photo by Gordon Lee)

Panthers lead VIJHL after pair of weekend wins

Peninsula junior hockey club faces Nanaimo at home Friday a night

The Peninsula Panthers continue their dominance with a pair of weekend wins. The VIJHL club knocked off the visiting Saanich Braves 7-5 in an entertaining affair Friday night and then sunk their teeth into the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on the road Saturday evening leaving with a 5-2 win. With the wins, the club remains on the top rung in the Island junior hockey league with a 14-3 win/loss record.

Head Coach Brad Tippett is pleased with his club’s performance thus far in the early going and that was clear when the PNR reached out to him for comment at the Panthers’ practice Monday evening.

“Going into the weekend, the coaching staff was more concerned about how we were playing versus the points or the results. We knew that if we played like we are capable, the points would look after themselves. We achieved 5 out of the 6 periods with effort, unselfishness, smart decisions and passion. We finished the month of October at 7-2 with both losses coming on the road. We still have some work to do. As long as we maintain the commitment to improve each day and play for each other, we can continue with the success we have enjoyed to date.”

READ ALSO: Peninsula Panthers look to claw their way back into the win column

Friday night in the confines of the Panorama Recreation Centre, forwards Riley Braun and Tanner Wort put on a performance. Wort had three goals and an assist while Braun scored once and added three helpers. On Saturday night, Jack Taylor led the charge with a goal and an assist. Goaltender Chris Combiadakis made both starts, his first in several weeks, and was solid in each game. He added two wins to his record along the way. Panthers’ netminder Connor McKillop had been seeing the lion’s share of work in the early going but Combiadakis did not appear to have any rust and was key in both games. Braun and Wort currently hold down the top two spots in League scoring.

The “Cats” look to continue their winning ways into November and get a chance to do just that Friday night at home when they welcome in the Nanaimo Buccaneers. The Panthers are a perfect 2-0 against the Bucs this season and hold an unblemished 9-0 win/loss record against North Division opponents this season. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. at Panorama Recreation Centre.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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