The UPEI Panthers start 2013 against a team very similar to themselves.
The Panthers (8-6-1) travel to Sackville, N.B., today to play the Mount Allison Mounties (4-6-4).
“We’re both good skating teams and we both have similar offences,” said Panthers coach Bruce Donaldson. “Goaltending will be key and I suspect the power play and penalty-kill piece will probably make the difference.”
The teams split games in November with the Mounties winning 2-0 at home and the Panthers winning 3-2 the next day in Charlottetown.
“Mount A’s record isn’t as good as their team. Their team is a good hockey team. They work really hard,” he said.
Neither team has played since early December.
“The girls are excited about getting back on the ice and getting back in game form,” Donaldson said. “We’ve had a good week of practice and everybody is healthy.”
The Dalhousie Tigers forfeited last Saturday’s game with the Panthers after the university suspended all its players, except its rookies, for the remainder of the season following an investigation into a party at the beginning of the season.
The Panthers travel Moncton Sunday to play the Blue Eagles. Game time is 2 p.m. Moncton is 9-6-1 and coming off a pair of 2-1 losses last weekend.
The UPEI Panthers will play underdogs this weekend to two of the country’s top teams.
The Atlantic University Sports men’s hockey squad will take on the fifth-ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies tonight in Halifax and 10th-ranked St. F.X. X-Men Saturday in Antigonish. Game times are 7 p.m.
UPEI went 0-2 against SMU and 1-1 against St. FX during the first half of the season. UPEI is coming off a home weekend sweep after beating Acadia 4-2 and Dalhousie 2-1.
The team is hoping to move up the conference standings to secure a home-ice advantage for the playoffs.
UPEI is tied with the Moncton Blue Eagles for fifth in the AUS standings with 17 points. Saint Mary’s sits in second (27), while St. F.X. (24) holds a strong lead in fourth.
The AUS judiciary committee is expected to make its decision today after hearing UPEI hockey Panther Mason Wilgosh’s appeal of a 12-game suspension Tuesday.
The suspension is from a disputed Nov. 30 hit to the head on Acadia’s Christopher Owens. The committee heard evidence Tuesday from officials with both universities and the AUS.
Wilgosh has already sat out three games.
7 p.m. – UPEI at Saint Mary’s (men)
2 p.m. – UPEI at Mount Allison (women)
7 p.m. – UPEI at St. F.X.
2 p.m. – UPEI at Moncton (women)