It’s unclear who will start in goal tonight for the UPEI Panthers when they face the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in Game 3 of their best-of-five Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey semifinal series at MacLauchlan Arena.
Sophomore Mavric Parks, who has served most of the second half of the season as UPEI’s backup goalie, blocked 18 of UNB’s 20 shots in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Varsity Reds to tie the series 1-1.
Parks was also called in to replace UPEI’s usual starting netminder Wayne Savage near the end of Thursday’s game, a 7-2 UNB win in the series opener.
Parks stopped nine of 11 shots in the 13:31 minutes he played Thursday.
Head coach Forbes MacPherson remained tight-lipped on who will be in goal for the Panthers when the puck drops at
7 p.m. tonight.
“We’re going to have a coaches’ meeting later and kind of brainstorm,” MacPherson said during an interview with The Guardian Sunday night.
Friday’s win was UPEI’s first victory against the nation’s top-ranked university team in more than a year, after being swept by UNB in last year’s playoffs and losing all four games in the 2012-13 regular season.
The series is now a best-of-three affair between the two teams with Game 4 Tuesday at MacLauchlan Arena at 7 p.m.
There are only a few tickets left for either game in Charlottetown.
If necessary, Game 5 will see the series return to Fredericton on Thursday.
The underdog Panthers now have a chance to win the series on home ice, but MacPherson said the team’s sole focus remains tonight’s game.
“In any playoff series your focus can only be on the next period and that’s where ours is,” he said. “We know that UNB are going to come out strong and hard. They’re still the No.
1-ranked team in Canada last I heard. So we’re going to have to bring our A-plus-plus game.”
It’s believed UNB left-winger and Summerside native Cam Critchlow will be suspended for tonight’s game, after receiving a game misconduct in Friday’s final for a hit to the head on UPEI forward Tyler Brown.
Friday’s game saw UPEI, a squad that is strong in depth, beat UNB on special teams with three of four goals coming on the power play. The other goal was short-handed.
MacPherson said while statistics would imply the game was won through special teams, two of UPEI’s power-play goals were scored on broken plays.
“To be honest, UNB’s penalty-kill did a great job on our power play,” said MacPherson. “We actually need some improvement on it.”