Junior Hockey is an odd beast. Junior B more so. With a very strict age range, and a major drive for most players to move up to A or School, teams end up looking very different every year. So why has an intense rivalry lasted so long with the Panthers? It’s hard to tell. They aren’t the closest opponent, that’s Saanich, they aren’t the biggest threat to the Cougars every year (This year notwithstanding), that’s been the Storm. But year after year the Panthers are always the team Cougars fans love to hate, and vice versa.
Last night was the final regular season game of the year between these two teams. The Cougars took the first 3 games of the year, the Panthers next 3, then the Cougars the last 2. Both of these teams have been 1 and 2 for almost the entire year. And every game has been brutal, in the best way for a fan. Lots of great goals, huge hits, and crazy plays.
In game 8 of the season series Brett Anderson played like he was possessed by the hockey Gods himself. He led the Cougars with 28 saves en route to his 3rd shutout of the season. Will Bryant, the Panthers Caller, even said that Anderson won the game for the Cougars. He was right. Jude Wessel had the Cougars up 1-0 in the 3rd period with the Panthers very much in-control of the play looking to tie the game. Brett Anderson absolutely robbed the Panthers twice from for-sure goals before the Cougars transitioned against the flow and Davis Frank made it 2-0.
There is a very distinct possibility that these two teams will see each other in the 2nd round of the Play-offs. But the Wolves and Braves may have something to say about that first.
The Cougars host the Islanders on Thursday for the final time this year. 7pm at the Arch.Follow the Cougars on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram.