Panthers vs Cougars VIJHL Finals preview

108
vijhl

by Jordan Henry

March 20, 2014 (ISN) – You can’t say we didn’t see it coming, for the 3rd time in 4 years the Victoria Cougars and Peninsula Panthers will do battle in a 7 game series for the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy and a trip to Nelson for the Cyclone Taylor Championship.

A final that a lot of experts and fans predicted two months ago when the Panthers and Cougars both loaded up at the deadline for a run at the championship that will start Thursday night in Esquimalt. Eight teams remain in the hunt to be a part of the 3 teams that will join the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL in the Cyclone Taylor Championship.

Four teams from the KIJHL (Creston, Beaver Valley, Osoyoos and Kamloops) are all still battling to be KIJHL Champions. The Richmond Sockeyes, who beat the Victoria Cougars in the Cyclone Taylor finals last year, are in their PJHL league championship series with the Aldergrove Kodiaks trying to earn a spot so the 4th and final team in the Championship in Nelson will be either the Cougars or Panthers.

By a very slim margin the Panthers managed to be the only team in the VIJHL to record a winning record in the regular season over Victoria, Connor Logan and Tate Coughlin lead the way for the forwards in those 8 games for Peninsula.

Connor had 12 points in those 8 games and Tate had 11. Alex Milligan was only able to play in 3 games against Victoria as a member of the Panthers but still managed 5 goals and 7 points in those 3 contests. The Cougars forwards were led by Mark Walton and Blake Roney, who had 11 and 10 points respectively. Their defense was lead by VIJHL Defenseman of the year Graham Zagrodney who had 10 of his 64 points in the regular season against Peninsula.

The Panthers defense was lead by the current pairing of Spencer Loverock and Sean Buchanan in the regular season, Loverock had 2 goals and 5 assists and Buchanan had 6 goals and two assists. The goal-tending in the regular series saw all 4 goaltenders get some action, for Peninsula Stephen Heslop started 7/8 and put up some pretty ridiculous numbers. He had a .914 SV% and a 3.21 GAA.

Joey Karrer played one wild game which the Panthers dropped 9-8 in Overtime, trust me those numbers do not represent this kids skill in the net. For Victoria Connor Beauchamp had the bulk of the starts going 3-2-0-1 with one of those wins coming in relief of Nathan Hargrave.

Hargrave came in twice for a pulled Connor Beauchamp, with a win in relief Nathan went 1-1-0-0. Expect the goaltending to be tight, can’t really give any advantages to anyone. Its even right down the middle. In the regular season Peninsula outscored Victoria 34-33, but Victoria outshot Peninsula 305-231 (an average of 38-29 per game).

Peninsula’s powerplay went 9/39 in the regular season (23%) and Victoria went 13/67 with the man advantage (19.4%) Now We’ll take a look at each teams playoff stats so far. Both of these teams made it to the finals in second round series winning overtime goals. John Kretzschmar 1:26 into the first overtime won the series for Victoria against Campbell River and it was Cole Glover 8:33 into the 2nd overtime in Game 7 against Comox that lifted Peninusla to the finals.

This series is going to be a dandy, I suggest if you have the opportunity to come to Peninsula or Victoria games you get yourself a seat !!

Peninsula Panthers (2nd in South 30-13-2-3) – 3rd overall vs Victoria Cougars (1st in South, 35-10-1-2) – 1st overall.

Panthers won the Regular Season Series 4-2-0-2

Peninsula 5 @ Victoria 6 (OT) Sept. 12 2013

Heslop is fantastic making 50 saves but Walton grabs the OT winner for a Cougar win.

Peninsula 5 @ Victoria 7 Sept. 26 2013

5 Cougars with 2 point games, Peninsula comeback with 3 goals in the third falls short as Cougars win with an empty netter.

Victoria 3 @Peninsula 4 (OT) Oct. 11 2013

Heslop makes 45 saves and Coughlin plays hero as Panthers win in OT at home.

Victoria 4 @ Peninsula 0 Oct. 25 2013

3 point night for Roney and a 21 save shutout for Beauchamp leads Cougars to victory.

Victoria 2 @ Peninsula 5 Nov. 8 2013

2 goals from Buchanan and 3 point nights from Smith and Loverock give Panthers decisive home ice win.

Victoria 1 @ Peninsula 3 Jan. 10 2014

Cougars power play struggles, Panthers power play shines in a 2 point night for Milligan.

Peninsula 8 @ Victoria 9 (OT) Jan. 30 2014

Milligan scores 4 but Mark Walton scores the winner in OT on the PP in wildest game of the year. Game had 20 different players with at least a point, 9 players with 3+ points.

Peninsula 4 @ Victoria 1 Feb. 9 2014

Panthers offensive weapons all get on the board and Heslop stops 38/39 in win.

Peninsula (12 GP) Victoria (9 GP)

#

Name

G

A

PTS

#

Name

G

A

PTS

15

Alex Milligan

6

7

13

27

Sam McMullen

10

6

16

22

Rylan Ball

5

8

13

19

Blake Roney

6

8

14

25

Jackson Skerratt

7

2

9

22

Michael Fretz

5

8

13

55

Sean Buchanan

3

6

9

24

Graham Zagrodney

2

10

12

20

Tylor Branzsen

2

7

9

14

Wade Johnson

3

4

7

#

Name

Record

Shots

Saves

SV%

GAA

SO

33

Stephen Heslop

7-4-0-0

301

271

.900

2.67

1

1

Joey Karrer

1-0-0-0

25

23

.920

2.00

0

1

Connor Beauchamp

5-1-0-0

150

141

.940

1.42

1

31

Nathan Hargrave

3-0-0-0

63

58

.921

1.86

0

Peninsula has 8 wins and 4 losses so far in the playoffs, their powerplay is 6/74 (8.11%), the penalty kill has given up 16 goals on 94 chances (82.98%). Victoria has 8 wins and 1 loss in the playoffs, their powerplay is first overall going 17/46 (36.96%), their penalty kill has given up 5 goals on 36 chances (86.11%). Victoria has not scored or given up any shorthanded goals while Peninsula has Scored 2 shorthanded goals while giving up 1. Now for the critically acclaimed Keys to the Series:

Keys to the Series for Victoria:

1) O from the D: Graham Zagrodney was the leagues best defenseman for a reason. He had the most points of any defenseman in years, and he leads the way for defenseman scoring in these playoffs. Other defenseman like Zadra, Kemmler and others will push the panthers defenders to their limits with their play. Watch for this.

2) Keep McMullen hot: Sam McMullen has been absolutely lights out since being traded to the Victoria Cougars, in his 19 regular season and playoff games with the Cougars he has 17 goals and 13 assists for 30 points (1.7 points per game). He leads the league in playoff scoring and is a focal point of these offensively gifted Cougars.

3) Grit, you know, like sandpaper: Its no secret that Peninsula is the most penalized team in the league and that the Cougars have the best Powerplay. If Victoria can use grit and toughness and get under the skin of Peninsula and force them to take penalties and keep their powerplay rolling thats going to be a huge advantage.

Keys to the Series for Peninsula:

1) Oh Hi Powerplay, It would be nice to find you again: To say the powerplay has been struggling would be a bit of an understatement, the 2nd worst powerplay in the playoffs has only gone 6/74 (8.11%). The answer to these problems may just be Matthew Sheeran, nobody quarterbacks a powerplay like the duo of Sheeran and Breitenstein and having him healthy again and a laser shot like his could get the Panthers some big powerplay markers.

2) HesDaddy in the house: Nobody loves to play the Cougars more than Stephen Heslop, his numbers against them are better than against any other team. The goaltender has a chance to steal any series and Mr. Heslop would just love to be one of those goalies.

3) Steal one in the Arch: The Panthers went 1-1-0-2 in Archie Browning Sports Centre this year, and with Victoria’s great regular season they will hold home ice in these finals. Peninsula will have to beat Victoria at least once at home, they haven’t lost at home since February 9th, Who was it who beat them then? The Peninsula Panthers. The Panthers have proven they have what it takes to win big road games in these Playoffs (See: Game 7 in Comox) They’ll have to find a way, but in the end it’s all about who wants it more.

Broadcast Schedule:

A Jordan will again call ever game in this series!

Jordan Henry & Liam Gormican will call games 2,4,6 in Peninsula on Sportsjuice

Jordan Smith will call games 1,3,5,7 in Archie Browning on Fasthockey

Want to interact with the play by play guys?

Follow Jordan & Liam on twitter @penpantherslive or Jordan Smith @vicplaybyplay

Game 1  Thursday, Mar 20 @ Archie Browning – 7:00 PM – FASTHOCKEY

Game 2  Friday, Mar 21 @ Panorama – 7:30 PM – SPORTSJUICE

Game 3  Sunday, Mar 23 @ Archie Browning – 6:30 PM – FASTHOCKEY

Game 4  Monday, Mar 24 @ Panorama – 7:30 PM – SPORTSJUICE

Game 5 Thursday, Mar 27 @ Archie Browning (If Necessary)7:00 PM – FASTHOCKEY

Game 6  Friday, Mar 28 @ Panorama (If Necessary) – 7:30 PM – SPORTSJUICE

Game 7 Sunday, Mar 30 @ Archie Browning (If Necessary) – 3:30 PM – FASTHOCKEY

The games on Sportsjuice can be found by going to ppanthers.bc.ca and clicking the “Listen Live” tab in the top right corner, these broadcasts will be audio only and 100% FREE. If you are listening on your smartphone or mobile device the games can be streamed by downloading the “TuneIn Radio App” and searching “Peninsula Panthers” in the browse section. The games on FASTHOCKEY can be found at fasthockey.com as a PPV video format.

Peninsula Panthers head-to-head vs Victoria Cougars

#

Name

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIMS

2

Iver Oedegaard

5

0

0

0

+1

8

3

Cody Breitenstein

8

1

2

3

+1

6

4

Kyle Richardson

7

0

0

0

+E

21

5

Brett Sjerven

6

0

2

2

+4

6

6

Grayson Vickers

7

0

2

2

-1

6

7

Spencer Loverock

8

2

5

7

+3

4

9

Cole Glover

7

1

4

5

E

4

10

Cody Allison

5

0

0

0

-5

0

11

Reece Costain

8

2

3

5

+1

43

15

Alex Milligan

3

5

2

7

+4

2

16

Connor Logan

8

2

10

12

+7

0

18

Tate Coughlin

8

5

6

11

+6

10

20

Tylor Branzsen

3

2

1

3

-1

12

21

Jordan Law

6

0

0

0

E

16

22

Rylan Ball

1

1

0

1

+2

0

24

Des Bast

3

0

0

0

+1

22

25

Jackson Skerratt

8

3

3

6

+4

14

27

Braedan Pearce

6

1

2

3

E

4

29

Zack Smith

5

1

3

4

+1

12

55

Sean Buchanan

8

6

2

8

+2

18

77

Matthew Sheeran

4

1

1

2

-1

0

Victoria Cougars head-to-head vs Peninsula Panthers

#

Name

GP

G

A

PTS

PIMS

2

Jake Stolz

7

0

1

1

6

3

Howard Howden

6

0

0

0

2

4

Nicholas Bower

6

2

4

6

4

5

Robert Zadra

6

1

2

3

23

6

Nick Lyons

3

0

0

0

2

7

Garrett Kemmler

2

0

0

0

0

9

Jordan Davie

6

3

1

4

4

10

Jordan Marciniak

7

0

1

1

19

11

Ryan Carson

8

2

5

7

2

12

David Marshall

8

2

1

3

4

14

Wade Johnson

7

0

6

6

14

15

Patrick Webb

8

0

1

1

10

16

Mark Walton

7

5

6

11

17

17

Marino Somerville

7

1

3

4

0

19

Blake Roney

7

7

3

10

0

21

Liam Caradine

2

0

1

1

2

22

Michael Fretz

7

6

3

9

0

24

Graham Zagrodney

8

1

9

10

0

25

John Kretzschmar

7

0

0

0

6

27

Sam Mcmullen

1

1

0

1

0

Peninsula Panthers vs Victoria Cougars head to head Goaltending stats

#

Name

Record

Shots

Saves

SV%

GAA

SO

33

Stephen Heslop

4-2-0-1

268

245

.914

3.21

0

1

Joey Karrer

0-0-0-1

36

27

.750

8.85

0

1

Connor Beauchamp

3-2-0-1

151

132

.874

3.58

1

31

Nathan Hargrave

1-1-0-0

78

64

.820

4.88

0

Your sports. Your teams. The ISN Daily Digest.

Sign up to the ISN Daily Digest and sit back while we pick the previous day’s best headlines and speed them straight to your inbox every morning.
Email address
First Name*
We abide by all applicable emailing laws including 100% CAN-SPAM/CASL/US CAN-SPAM Act compliance. No spam!