Is a rematch of the 2011 VIJHL finals in store? Chris Savage

A tale of two Saaniches: How the defending B.C. champs have become underrated

Saanich Braves at Peninsula Panthers (VIJHL semifinal tied 1-1)

Game 3: Tonight (March 9), 7:30 p.m. at Panorama.

For a team coming off two straight Island championships and a the B.C. championship, the Peninsula Panthers sure get a bad rap.

Maybe it’s because they finished the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League season in fifth place with 17 wins, less than half of the first-place Victoria Cougars’ 36.

Maybe it’s an unfair assessment based on the mid-season change of ownership, which had a negative affect on the team, including the departure of the talented Peterson brothers tandem of Cole and Kyle.

Or maybe it’s because their Saanich rivals absolutely devoured them in their last five meetings this season, with the Braves outscoring the Panthers 34-9.

Or maybe it’s a little bit from each.

“We came in with seven returning players from last year’s gold-meal squad,” said head coach Rob Armstrong. “And yes, we lost some good players, including Evan Campbell, who was incredible for this team as a player and a leader.

“But this season had its distractions, with the financial stuff. And we’ve been bringing along some rookies as well, seeing how this team thrives in the playoffs.”

The ownership situation was particularly sour for fans, Armstrong said.

“Crowds have grown recently. And home ice is going to be an advantage again for us, where it wasn’t at mid-season.”

Armstrong was on the bench as an assistant coach to former owner Jackson Penney when the Panthers won everything but the Keystone Cup, Western Canadian championship last year.

He believes his team has the firepower to challenge for another VIJHL championship.

But to do it, the team needs its big guns to execute, especially on the powerplay.

Which means quarterback Jake Bryan, hometown boy Trevor Yee and talented Whitehorse imports Joe Densmore and David Stephens taking the lead on the first unit, which they did on Wednesday with three goals.

“Our powerplay had been inconsistent most of the season. It has to be better. (Overall) we have the firepower but we don’t have a large margin of error. Granted (the Braves) are a good team, and we have to play well.”

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Slugfest at the 2019 Super Channel Championships

Pictures from day two of Boxing BC bouts this week

Busy day for passengers on BC Ferries

First two sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay full Thursday morning

Police actions under investigation following Langford arrest

IIO investigates officer-related incidents that result in serious harm

High of 16 C for Thursday

Plus your weekend forecast

New commemorative loonie marking progress for LGBTQ2+ rights draws mixed response

Critics say coin’s date of 1969 ‘equality’ is misleading

WATCH: Cougar saunters through Metchosin yard

Spring cougar sighting caught on camera

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Most Read