Panthers #10 Riley Braun and #8 Josh Lingard battle Islanders #18 Didrick Wasson-Lillehaug in VIJHL action at the Panorama Recreation Centre last Friday night. Braun has just wristed the puck away from the group – can you spot it? (Courtesy Peninsula Panthers)

Peninsula Panthers prepare for the Bucs on Friday

North Saanich Junior B hockey team hopes to avenge early-season loss to Nanaimo

NORTH SAANICH — The Peninsula Panthers are getting ready for the arrival of the Nanaimo Buccaneers this Friday night.

The Bucs are easily the hottest Club in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) and have run off a franchise record nine wins in a row going into the weekend. One of those wins came in Nanaimo against the Peninsula Panthers last Thursday night.

“We are really playing well right now,” explained General Manager Pete Zubersky. “We have four wins to date and should really have won two or three others. We are very much looking forward to playing the Bucs. They are the measuring stick in the league at this point in the schedule.”

The Panthers dropped a 4-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Kerry Park Islanders last Friday night.

“We actually controlled the game from start to finish,” quipped Zubersky. “We dominated the shots on goal. We outhustled, outhit, outworked and pretty well outeverythinged them except on the scoreboard where it counts.

“But it was exciting to see such a young group taking the next step. We are going to rack up a lot of win this season and we are getting better each time out. I know that the fans coming into the building here on Fridays are leaving feeling they are seeing something special happening. It’s a nice mix of locals right here from the Peninsula to as far away Winnipeg but the kids are all on the same page and really happy with how things are coming along.”

Seventeen-year-old Josh Lingard, who played last season with the Peninsula Midget Eagles, and 18-year-olds Skyler Diamond-Burchuck from Winnipeg and Carson Cox – who played on the club last season – are the three top point-getters.

“We need to score more, there is no doubt about that,” said Zubersky. “Our guys have to get to the front of the net and make it tough on the opposition goaltender. That is how you score goals in the league, get to the net and when you arrive, be in a bad mood.”

The Panthers will look to clog the crease on Friday night, Oct. 20 at the Panorama Recreation Centre. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

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