© Copyright – 2019 – Victoria Sports News
The Peninsula Panthers dream playoff series came to an end Sunday in Campbell River at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena. They lost the series four games to three and lost the game 3-0.
The Panthers, who finished the regular season last in the South Division, were taking on the 500-pound gorilla of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, the Campbell River Storm, who won the regular season title, again. It was a monumental task, but the young Panthers stepped up to the plate – baseball analogies aside – and hit a home run, winning Games 1, 2 and 4, but in the end, the Storm, an older more experienced team took care of business as they were expected to and took three straight games to win their first-round series.
The young Panthers demonstrated to the rest of the league that they will be a team to contend with next year.
The Storm, without a true dominating first line, but with 20 players who could play on the first or second line of most other teams, controlled the game for 60 minutes.
At 12:23, Jackson Doyle opened the scoring from Darren Hards. That was enough to change the Panthers’ game – scoring first provides a position of control. The Storm dominated the neutral zone and kept the shots low at both ends.
There wasn’t another goal until 14:15 of the third period when the 20-year-old Prince George native Hards picked up his second point of the game from Noah Fladager and then Fladager scored a shorthanded marker at 18:23, unassisted; that’s all she wrote.
Riley Braun was sitting for two minutes for Slashing at the time.
Shots were 24-23 for the Storm, while the special teams were both blanked going 0/4.
Connor McKillop took the 21-save loss in net for the Panthers, while Aaron de Kok earned the 23-save shutout win in net for the Storm.
See playoff bracket, here.