It was a tight one, but the Peninsula Panthers prevailed on home ice once again the past Friday night at the Panorama Recreation Centre when they downed the visiting Nanaimo Buccaneers, 2-1.
Connor Logan, 16, and “Whistler Will” Finlay, 17, each scored their first goals of the season before the game was nine minutes old.
Panthers goaltender Stephen Heslop helped the team hold tight for the win.
The Buccaneers’ Garrett Dunlop made it close for the team when he snuck one by Heslop late in the second period, but the talented netminder would see that as his only slip-up of the game.
Late in the third, the Panthers took a couple of penalties and every time the Buccaneers’ forwards would throw the puck into the Panthers’ zone, Heslop would wander out of his net, corral the puck and send it the length of the ice to keep the team safe.
In the end, Heslop blocked 28 of 29 shots directed his way while Buccaneers’ goalie Cameron Large stopped 28 of 30 Panthers’ attempts.
“Heslop was instrumental in moving the puck out of our zone on the penalty kill. He makes it really tough for an opponent to forecheck and it changes their game plan to a point,” said Panthers’ head coach, Rob Armstrong of Friday’s game against Nanaimo.
Armstrong added he was “really pleased with the way we competed and focused for three periods. When a team can play with a one-goal lead and see a game out for two points, it tells me they care and are willing to do the little things. We got pucks in deep and battled hard for the win.”
The Panthers’ at-home winning streak will be tested in earnest this Friday night when the league-leading Victoria Cougars make their way out to the Peninsula.
The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. at Panorama Recreation Centre.