Panthers’ Mackenzie Benn-Wipp is starting to feel comfortable on the Peninsula in scoring a goal in each of two consecutive wins this week. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)

Peninsula Panthers hit quarter-mark of season with best record in league

The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team won 11 out of 12 games

The Peninsula Panthers reached the quarter-point of the regular Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) with a pair of victories that pushed their record to 11-1.

The team topped off their winning weekend with a 7-1 home victory against the Oceanside Generals Friday night after having beaten the Nanaimo Buccaneers 4-0 on the road.

Connor McKillop stood between the pipes for both games and now leads the league with nine victories, which includes his first shutout of the season. Also leading the league is forward with Matthew Sparrow with 11 goals and 10 assists in 12 games. Three Panthers — Tanner Wort, Riley Braun and Josh Lingard — rank behind Sparrow in league scoring with 18, 18, and 17 points respectively.

RELATED: Peninsula Panthers pounce twice to remain best team in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League

This balance was also evident during the weekend victories, with no player dominating. All four lines and the defensive corps chipped with no player scoring more than two goals.

The Panthers also lead the league in scoring with 68 goals, or 5.66 goals per game. Just behind the Panthers in scoring are the Victoria Cougars with 51 goals. The Panthers have also allowed the fewest goals with 25 goals for 2.08 goals against per game. The Cougars are right behind with 26 goals against.

The two teams will test their respective strengths on Sunday, Oct. 20, when the Cougars host the Panthers at the end of a three-game week that starts Wednesday with a road game against the Westshore Wolves. The Panthers return home Friday when they host the Campbell River Storm, before heading back out on the road against the Cougars for their matinee match.

Team officials describe the upcoming trio of games as a measuring stick for the club, which has so far dominated the league.

But Cougars are not far off behind with 18 points and two games in hand.



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