It was supposed to be a battle of unbeaten titans, as the Peninsula Panthers of Saanich and the Campbell River Storm clashed on Saturday (Sept. 16) at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
“Campbell River is a good team. They always have been,” said Panthers coach and general manager Tyler Stanton during warm-ups. “They generate a lot of speed, a lot of offense. It’s something we’ve been defending a lot. I think it’s going to be a very physical game. The biggest thing for us will be to use our speed to our asset and take advantage of the scoring opportunities as they come.”
In the end though, what was supposed to be a labouring fight turned out to be quite the mismatch. Despite being out shot 37-31, the Storm’s speed and physicality were ultimately the difference. Led by Australian import Riley Langille, the Storm rolled to a 7-0 victory.
“We had to get on them early,” said Storm associate coach Jordan Rauser after the win. “This is obviously their first trip up north this season. I think we were able to keep the momentum going from Friday night. We were able to roll that over to the end after we got a couple of early goals.”
Langille opened the scoring almost 11 minutes into the opening frame, taking a pass from line-mate Raydon Parkes and beating Panthers goaltender Tanner Ferrill. Langille doubled his goal total just six minutes later, ultimately finishing with a hat trick and four points on the evening.
“He battled a lot of injuries last year,” said Rauser. “He finds these quiet zones that help him create some offence. Tonight, we were able to see him get rewarded for that output.”
Quinn Messer scored six minutes into the second frame as Campbell River continued to pour it on. Third period goals came from Parkes, and a pair from Gavin Munro just 13 seconds apart in the third period, before a crowd of 478 spectators.
The Storm’s next game will be Friday evening (Sept. 22) against the Lake Cowichan Kraken. Opening puck drop at the Brind’Amour Arena will be at 7:30 p.m.