Hot off leading the men’s hockey Panthers on a four-game streak, Wayne Savage will be stepping into the UPEI paint again tonight in Atlantic University Sport hockey action.
The netminder, selected as the UPEI and the AUS male athlete of the week, has the conference’s top save percentage (.935) and is second in the country.
With Savage “playing the way we know he can,” UPEI coach Forbie MacPherson said he would be returning to the net tonight when the team hosts longtime arch-rival Moncton Blue Eagles. Game time is 7 p.m. at MacLauchlan Arena.
However, there is little that can be said about Savage, which can’t be said about second-year netminder Mavric Parks, added MacPherson.
The two are the best in the league, he said, pointing to splitting up the first half of the schedule evenly amongst the players.
“It’s a great situation to have two unbelievable goalies but with a reduced schedule in this league, it’s hard to get one guy real hot because they both deserve to play,” said MacPherson. “In order to play as No. 1, they have to play a little more, which is hard here.”
While Savage has seen all the ice time since returning for the second half of the season, UPEI fans can expect to see Parks to make his return sooner rather than later.
MacPherson said the young netminder was fighting off the flu when former Summerside Capitals goalie Nick Creelman dressed for the team two weekends ago.
With the Panthers now nearing the final stretch, MacPherson said he’s planning on playing Savage and Parks so both are tuned up for playoffs.
“Parks was our MVP last year, probably our best player, and he took UPEI hockey into playoff territory we haven’t been in a number of years,” said MacPherson. “If there’s anybody in our dressing room I have an extreme amount of confidence in, it’s Mavric Parks. We’re not going to hesitate to put him in. We need to get him in so he has some playing time.”
UPEI (10-9-1) is in fifth place with 21 points, while Moncton (8-9-3) is sixth with 19 points.
UPEI hosts the UNB Varsity Reds Friday before hitting the road to play the St. Thomas Tommies Saturday in Fredericton.