A blistering shot from Chris DeSousa 1:30 into overtime lifted the UPEI Panthers to a 3-2 win over the Moncton Blue Eagles in Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey action Wednesday night at MacLauchlan Arena.
The goal also extended the Panthers’ win streak to five games, making UPEI the only team in the conference to be unbeaten in the second half of the season.
“The big difference is that in the first half, games just like tonight, we found ways to lose those tight games,” DeSousa told The Guardian. “Now we’re finding ways to win and we’re going into every game feeling like we can win.”
The team’s next challenge will be a tough one when it hosts the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds at MacLauchlan Arena Friday at 7 p.m.
UPEI (11-9-1) still sits in fifth place in the AUS with 23 points. The team is one point behind fourth-place St. F.X. (11-8-2).
Other UPEI goals were scored on the power play by Tyler Brown and Travis MacIsaac.
Moncton’s goals were scored by Guillaume Parenteau and Francis Rochon.
Brown opened up the scoring when he tipped in a blue-line shot from defenceman Reggie Traccito at 7:22 of the first period.
It didn’t take Moncton long to strike back. Brown’s goal was still being announced when Parenteau tied the game with a backhander at 7:39, as the teams headed to the first intermission tied 1-1.
McIsaac picked up his goal at 8:45 of the second period when he tapped a loose puck behind Moncton netminder Andre-Michel Guay.
Moncton tied up the game again at 13:56, when Rochon buried the puck top shelf after accepting a pass from Eric Faille across the UPEI net.
Both teams grinded out the scoreless third period.
However, it was only a minute and a half into overtime when Traccitto dropped the puck back to DeSousa, who didn’t waste any time snapping off his shot.
While DeSousa also netted a goal in last Saturday’s 3-2 win against St. F.X., he had recently been plagued by a scoreless drought.
DeSousa said he feels confident that is in the past.
“(Saturday’s goal) got me going and now I feel like I’m right back in it,” he said. “I’m confident with my shots.”
Guay made 36 saves in the game, while UPEI goalie Wayne Savage stopped 23 of Moncton’s shots.
Other AUS games Wednesday saw UNB blank St. Thomas 7-0, Saint Mary’s shut out Dalhousie 3-0, and Acadia dump St. F.X. 5-1.