Key points are on the line tonight when the UPEI Panthers host the Moncton Blue Eagles in Atlantic University Sport women’s hockey action.
The Panthers are in the midst of a stretch of four games in six days to conclude the regular season. UPEI (12-8-1) is in fourth place with 25 points, one point back of Saint Mary’s (12-7-2) and three ahead of Moncton (10-10-2).
“The program, in terms of progression, wants to try to get into that third spot,” coach Bruce Donaldson said Tuesday.
“That was the goal we had set for ourselves right from the beginning, to be top three.”
It would be a big confidence booster for the team after starting its defence of the AUS championship 1-4.
Moncton will have two key players, captain Genevieve David and Marie-Pier Arsenault, back in the lineup tonight after serving three-game suspensions.
“They’re going to be full of energy,” Donaldson said.
“(Moncton is) quick, so you have to watch them in transition . . . It should be a very entertaining game.”
Stratford native Kaitlyn Gallaway has been key for the Blue Eagles this season with eight goals and four assists in 19 games.
Lyndsay Oakes is expected to be in the lineup tonight after recently dealing with the flu.
Captain Jaimelynn Donaldson is expected to play despite taking a couple of shots off her knee Monday in Fredericton.
The Panthers lost 1-0 Monday against St. Thomas on its first shorthanded goal against this season.
Marie Soleil Deschenes starts tonight for the Panthers.
“She played very well last night,” Donaldso said Tuesday. “She made a couple of key saves to keep us in the game.”
The string of games will show the Panthers where they are before the conference championship, Feb. 21 to 24 at Mount Allison.
“Two of the games are against teams in front of us. You’re trying to see where you stack up between St. Thomas and St. F.X.,” Donaldson said. “The other two are key games in terms of placement. Both Moncton and Saint Mary’s were all battling for that third and fourth spot.”