Panthers Clinch VIJHL Playoff Series With Oceanside

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By ISN Jr. Reporter Skylar Craig
Photos by Richard Hyde 

Sidney, BC (ISN) – The Peninsula Panthers embraced a well-earned 3-2 win in game six of the Peninsula – Oceanside series, earning them a spot in the next round of the VIJHL playoffs.

The Panthers took the lead five minutes in and didn’t let up the entire game. Joe Densmore (#18) knocked the first one in, with Jake Bryan (#4) adding a second on the power play, minutes later. Oceanside’s Nathan Deyell (#6) managed to get one for the Generals with eight seconds left on the clock, leaving the Panthers ahead by one going into the second.
 

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Captain Jake Bryan sporting a playoff beard and strutting his suff after a power play goal

 

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Joe Densmore Congratulated on an early goal

 

Period two was much less eventful than the first, until the last thirty seconds, when Trevor Yee (#21) chipped a beautiful pass off the glass and up ice to be gloved down by Densmore. The puck was sent out of the General’s zone by an Oceanside defenseman and then was sent back in again, where David Stephen let loose an exquisite shot that hit the crossbar and went in – a beautiful top right corner goal.
 

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David Stevens hoists his arms in celebration of a great goal right at the end of the 2nd

 

Oceanside goaltender Michael Gudmandson (#1) took a beating in the third period, as he was sent flying into the net and boards on three different occasions. The last minutes of the game were definitely eventful. Oceanside’s Taylor Gray (#9) succeeded in scoring the General’s second goal with just over three minutes left, bringing the team back into the game.

With a minute and thirty-four seconds left on the clock, Oceanside called a time out and pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. Oceanside was desperate to tie the score  and was pushing the Panthers hard for the entire last minute. With 34 seconds left, Densmore nearly had an open net goal but missed, the shot going wide left and seconds later another going wide right. Oceanside managed to get it back into the attacking end in the last seconds of the battle and the puck was flung to captain Nick Bell (#11) with nine seconds left, who was unable to get a shot away, leaving the Panthers with a 3-2 win.
 

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Oceanside’s Taylor Gray slots one by Panther Goalie, Stephen Heslop to bring the Generals back within 1 goal towards the end of the third

 

Just before the end of the game, Oceanside’s Travis Briggs (#16) made a run at Peninsula’s Jake Bryan, described as a “classless move” by Bryan’s teammate Tyler Porteous who stepped in to defend his captain, starting a violent scrum in the corner of the rink.
 

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Panthers Tyler Porteous mixes it up with Oceanside’s Travis Briggs right at the final whistle. After he took a run at Panthers Captain Jake Bryan

“We knew we had to play a team game and had to close the series here,” Captain Jake Bryan remarked. “As soon as we scored that first goal, I knew it was over.”

“From the atmosphere in the beginning in the change room and even the atmosphere in the stands in the warm up, I really knew we had a bit of a zest going on,” assistant captain Tyler Porteous commented. “I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to come away with the win.”

“As soon as we stepped in the dressing room, you knew we were going to win, just the way we warmed up, the way the room was. It was just a really good atmosphere here today,” Bryan added, agreeing with his teammate.

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Panthers all Congratulate each other with special thanks going to Goalie Stephen Heslop


The entire team played outstanding, however the three stars of the night were definitely worthy choices. Third star David Stephens (#22) had a commendable game, earning an assist and a goal. Second star Trevor Yee played great, having many exceptional passes and producing an assist on each of the Panther’s goals. Needless to say, goalie Stephen Heslop (#31) achieved the first star title. The 16-year-old rookie goaltender had a truly amazing game, keeping the entire crowd on edge as he pulled through the forceful game, making a handful of spectacular saves the entire way though.

Porteous summed up the game with, “Everyone from first line to fourth line, all the way through the defence, our goalie Heslop, played unbelievable and it was a really good team effort and team win.” 

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