Panthers Get OT Win to Split Home and Home With Braves

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

October 31, 2014, North Saanich, BC (ISN) – Reece Costain scored with 47 seconds left in the first overtime period to give the Peninsula Panthers a 2-1 win over the Saanich Braves in Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) action Friday night at the Panorama Recreation Centre in North Saanich.

Saanich’s Scott Henderson (23) looks to make a move around Peninsula defender Koby Hale during Friday night’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The win, just the Panthers third of the season, avenged a 1-0 loss to the Braves suffered Wednesday night at Pearkes Arena in Saanich, in the first game of the home-and-home series between the two teams.

Just like Wednesday’s affair, in which the Braves Cam Mackay scored just 23 seconds into the game to notch the only goal, Friday’s game was also a close-checking and low scoring affair, with goaltenders Brandon Ward for Saanich and Alex Olson for Peninsula, once again facing each other and once again, playing big roles for their teams.

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Saanich forward Nick Guerra (11) makes a move off the boards ahead of Peninsula’s Spencer Loverock (7)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Olson, acquired by the Panthers just before the Wednesday game against Saanich, had a second straight solid game in net for the Panthers, with the only damage he allowed being a goal 2:35 into the first period from Saanich’s Dayne Ellison, who positioned himself in front of the net and tipped a Nyshan Basra wrist shot over the line to give the Braves the lead.

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Seamus Maguire played in his second game with Saanich after returining from the Flin Flon Bombers of the SJHL (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Olson was particularly solid in the second period, when the Braves had three key powerplay opportunities but could not score despite controlling the play for long periods of time.

Ward also had a strong game, allowing a first period goal by Peninsula’s Trevor Owens at 7:18 that resulted from a glaring defensive giveaway. Ward was also called upon later in the game, notably in the third period, to bail out his defence, especially on a short-handed breakaway by Koby Hale midway through the period and again during a dangerous looking Panthers powerplay just past the midway point of the frame.

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Saanich Captain Dayne Ellison (10), who would score the Braves only goal Friday, goes low to get around Peninsula’s Kyle Richardson (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In overtime, the Braves would dominate, but could not find a way to beat Olson and with time winding down, Costain broke through the neutral zone, took a nice pass from Kai Turner and on a partial breakaway, blasted a slapshot over Ward’s shoulder and into the top corner for the winner with 47 seconds remaining.

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Peninsula goalie Alex Olson (33) gets a toe on this third period chance by Saanich’s Nick Guerra.  Olson would make 28 saves in the 2-1 OT win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The win moves the Panthers to 3-16 on the season – their previous wins coming against Campbell River and Comox – and moves them a point ahead of Oceanside for the 8th place overall in the league. The Braves fall to 5-9-0-3 on the season and sit 4 points back of Kerry Park for 3rd in the South.

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Saanich forward Ben Meek looks for an opening under pressure from Peninsula’s Ben DeJong (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Game Notes: Both teams saw familiar faces return to their line-ups this week. On Wednesday, the Braves welcomed back forward Seamus Maguire, who spent all of last season and the first part of this season with the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). On Friday, the Panthers welcomed back forward Nathan Looysen who played last season in the WHL with Kamloops and the first part of this season with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BC Hockey League.

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