Cougars at Panthers December 10, 2021

The friendly confines of the Panorama Recreation Centre will remain quiet for the next 18 days as the Peninsula Panthers completed their home schedule on Friday night prior to the Christmas Break.  The Cats travel to the Q Centre in Colwood on Wednesday for a date with the Westshore Wolves and will jump on the bus next Saturday night to head up to Oceanside to take on the Generals.  But probably to the chagrin of local fans, the next time they hit the ice at home for more game action will be Wednesday, December 29th.

“I honestly cannot recall a string of games in our barn where every single play by every single player has been so meaningful,” explained Panthers owner Pete Zubersky.  “I can’t recall who coined the phrase, ‘If one less player gave one less percent, we would have lost the game’, but the last month has felt exactly like that.  Tonight was no exception.”

The Victoria Cougars rolled onto the Peninsula supporting a four-game win streak and looked to extend that mark at the hands of the Panthers on Friday.  But the local Cats have been playing well for the past six weeks and the game looked like it might be a doozy.  It was!

The two Clubs took the traditional 15-minute warmup at 7:00 pm and then the ice was greased and the two squads retreated to their respective dressing rooms for some last-minute wisdom from each Coaching staff.  They reappeared to a big and freshly greased sheet of ice and the two starting lineups popped out onto their respective bluelines for introduction prior to the National Anthem.  A short synopsis of All-time Panthers scoring and games played records for Captain Riley Braun were read out by ice-level announcer Jason Fletcher, as were targets for records that could fall over the next two months.  Following the Anthem, the two squads got down to business in earnest.

The 1st period solved nothing.  Both Clubs had a number of solid, if not great, scoring chances but Panthers Ashton Lukan and Cougars Jonah Chambers were both stellar between the iron pipes and as the two teams retreated to their dressing rooms after 20 minutes were in the books, neither had seen a red light shining brightly behind them.

This all changed in the 2nd frame as the home side opened up a 3-1 lead going into the intermission on a greasy goal by speedster Aleko Sdrakas, a penalty shot by rookie Ethan Lingard – his first goal of his Junior Career – and a shot off the stick of Riley Braun from a tough angle.  Logan Speirs continued his assault on the record book with an assist on the Braun marker, giving him at least one point in every singe game the Panthers have played this regular season.  Replying for the Cougars was Jacob Pang but the visitors would need a lot more offensive punch if they were to get back into this affair.

The game became more than just interesting when at the 11:24 mark and while on the power play, Cougars Captain Dylan Jessa pumped a shot from 25 feet out that seemed to deflect off the stick or body of a Panthers’ defender.  The disk eluded Lukan and brought the visitors within a goal at 3-2 however, that marker proved to be the last one of the game and it was the Cats from the Peninsula who spilled over the boards to congratulate their netminder when the buzzer to end Regulation time ended.

Lukan stopped 31 of 33 shots directed his way and collected the win and the Panthers Player of the Game for his efforts, while Chambers stopped 35 of 38 shots and was forced to add a loss to his record.  Cougars Jackson Estey buzzed around the sheet all night long and was named the Player of the Game for his squad.

With the win in the books, the Panthers closed their home schedule going into the Christmas Break however have yet to play two more games on the road before Santa slips down the chimney late Christmas Eve.  This Wednesday, the Panthers will travel to the Q Centre in Colwood to tangle with the Westshore Wolves and will then board the Iron Lung for points North next Saturday when they have a 7:00 pm date with a powerful Oceanside Generals group.

The Club will be back on the ice after the break with an evening practice on December 28th and will then open up after Christmas at home against the visiting Kerry Park Islanders on Wednesday, December 29th at 7:30 pm.  As is usual, this post-Christmas game draws well with the Holiday crowd looking to get out of the house to burn off some of the turkey and mashed potatoes.

Pete and Coreen Zubersky and the entire Peninsula Panthers Organization want to take the opportunity to pass along best wishes for this Christmas Season and we look forward to greeting you once again on December 29th at 7:30 pm.

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