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Peninsula Panthers blockbuster trade with Saanich pays immediate dividends

Big weekend result
Panthers #30, Goaltender Tanner Ferrill gets set to stop Cougars #27, Noah Edstrom in his tracks with the help of Defenceman #19, Ezra Oucharek. (Christian J. Stewart Photography)

The Peninsula Panthers pulled off their biggest deal in their history both in terms of talent and the number of players changing addresses late Thursday evening.

The club had been faltering as of late and management decided that a shake-up was in order. And it was a shake-up of monumental proportions and one that nobody expected.

Moving to the Saanich Predators were Panthers captain and top defenceman in Evan Crawford, top scorer in Ryan Grambart and Tristan Rosenblood who has seen playing time at various times on the top three lines. Although there was a large measure of pain in the trade for the Cats, they managed to retool on the fly bringing in character, heart and talent. The club obtained four forwards from the Predators including brothers Gaetz and Ty Barrie, Kyle Erickson and Cole Sather. In a smaller deal, the Panthers received cash for forward Jordan Campbell from the Nanaimo Buccaneers, a transaction that made room to complete the trade with Saanich.

“Our head coach/GM Tyler Stanton has coached the Barrie brothers and Sather in the past and was well aware of what they would bring,” explained Panthers owner Pete Zubersky. “We had been in discussions about some type of deal for a number of weeks and had scouted the four extensively. When we started to talk in earnest with them about a possible deal, it just seemed to grow and grow and in the end seven players were moved now and we will get another player from their roster on June 1.”

The Panthers did not have to wait long to test out their newly-acquired group as they hosted the VIJHL South Division leading Victoria Cougars less than 24 hours after the deal was consummated. There was clearly a different vibe around the team and they got busy as soon as the puck dropped last Friday night. Tanner Ferrill was brilliant between the pipes and stopped all 39 shots he faced in picking up the 4-0 shutout win. Ty Barrie scored a couple markers while Sather and Ahron Calalay added singles. One of Barrie’s goals was an empty-netter. His brother Gaetz had assists on all four tallies.

On Sunday, the Panthers headed to the Archie Browning for the back end of the home-and-home weekend series and this time the Cougars would prevail by a 3-1 count. The game was knotted at 1-1 deep into the final stanza however the home side popped a couple goals to escape with the win. Rowan Cairns was the lone goal scorer for the Panthers.

“We played well enough to win on Sunday also,” said Zubersky. “Our guys turned in a couple great efforts this past weekend and it was a hard-earned split. We will practice as a group this week and should be ready to go Friday night.”

The Panthers will welcome in the visiting Westshore Wolves to the confines of the Panorama Recreation Centre Friday night with the puck set to drop at 7:30 p.m.

About the Author: Peninsula News Review Staff

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