Peninsula Panthers still looking for consistency after first month of VIJHL season – Victoria News
The Peninsula Panthers were on track to claim their second home victory of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) season on Friday, only to concede five straight goals to a 6-4 loss to the Islanders of Kerry Park.
The Panthers were leading 4-1 against the visitors less than halfway through the game when Kerry Park started their rally, a rally the hosts fueled, according to head coach Brad Tippett.
“We have to learn to keep the pass no matter the score,” he said. “The league is too good to make it easy for the opposition. We gave Kerry Park the spark that fueled the enthusiasm that turned the tide.
Defensive gaps allowed the Islanders to get back into the game, Tippett said. “A brain cramp or three didn’t help things either,” he said. “Suddenly it’s 4-3. We seemed to regain control early in the third period only to detonate a cover on our side, we blocked a point shot that turned into a breakaway, then we were beaten for a loose puck. It all ended in a 6-4 loss.
“We gave the game.”
The loss came after what was arguably the Panthers’ best game of the season so far, Thursday night in Nanaimo, where they beat the Buccaneers 14-1. They led 5-0 after one period and 10-1 after two periods before adding four more goals in the final period. The Braun brothers – Riley and Payton – scored three goals apiece, with Payton surpassing his brother’s three assists with a fourth. Each also had two assists in the game against Kerry Park, with Riley also scoring a goal.
While the Braun brothers lead the Panthers, Riley leads the league with 17 points and Payton is tied for third with 14 points.
One of the Panthers’ best failures before will be out of the roster for eight weeks as Sterling Lyon broke his wrist.
“It was an abnormal game and it continued,” Tippett said. “His speed, aggressive forward failures and leadership will be missed.”
The Panthers end the first month of the season with two regulation-time wins, four regulation-time losses and one shootout loss. This total places the Panthers at the bottom of the standings of the South Division of the VIJHL, which stands out as the best of the two divisions. Three of the six teams in the North Division have just one point each, with Campbell River winning six of the seven games. The South Division looks more balanced with just seven points separating the main Cougars from the Panthers.
“We have been very patient and positive,” said Tippett, referring to the first month of the season. “We need to keep improving and being more consistent. But the current grace period, he added, is also coming to an end.
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Panthers of the PeninsulaSaanich PeninsulaVIJHL