Storm winger Kobe Oishie breaks past a peninsula defender to gain the zone the last time the Panthers were in town.

Storm hoping to tame Panthers

Peninsula, winless at the time, took down Storm back in October, also have new offensive threat in Looysen

The Campbell River Storm will try to rebound from their first home loss of the season when they take on the Peninsula Panthers in a home-and-home series this weekend.

If Campbell River needs any extra motivation for tonight’s (Friday) game in Peninsula, they only need to think back to Oct. 17 when the winless Panthers stunned the streaking Storm 3-2 in a David and Goliath upset.

According to Storm head coach Lee Stone, Peninsula has shown steady improvement this season and no one is taking them lightly anymore.

“They were a 0-13 team and now are 3-3 in their last six games,” he says, “Beating two pretty good teams along the way – us and Comox. This is the time of the year when the weaker teams (like Peninsula) pick up Junior ‘A’ cuts – that creates more parity in the league.”

Stone said the Panthers, for example, just picked up Nathan Looysen, who was with the Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) earlier this year and played with the Kamloops Blazers (WHL) last season. “He’ll probably be their top offensive threat and a guy we’ll have to pay close attention to.”

If the Storm hopes to bounce back from last Friday’s 2-1 home loss to Comox Valley they will need more production from their power play, which was a dismal 0 for 6 against the Glacier Kings.

“I’ve told the guys all year that special teams win hockey games, especially for us,” Stone said. “We’ve scored at least one power play goal in all but two of our games so far this season, and that’s a big reason why we have such a good record. If we got just one last week (against Comox), then it’s a tie game and I like our chances in overtime.”

In an ironic twist the Panthers could be facing their former goaltender this weekend.

Will Harvey, who was in net when Peninsula upset the locals last month, has been practising with the Storm after being recently released by the Panthers.

“I made no guarantees to him (Harvey), but he played real well against us and, quite frankly, during the last five or six games we haven’t been real happy with what we’ve had in net,” Stone said.

The Storm will be missing utility man Brendan Enns, who begins serving a two game suspension for a hit from behind against Comox Valley. They will also be without their leading scorer, Colin Blake, who serves the final of his three game suspension on Friday. He’s expected to return to the line-up for the rematch in Campbell River.

The opening faceoff for that one is set for 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.