The UPEI Panthers came back after an embarrassing defeat Thursday to steal a road win from the UNB Varsity Reds 4-2 in Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey semifinal action Friday in Fredericton.
After a disappointing 7-2 loss Thursday, the Panthers played a disciplined match and used power plays to its advantage to steal the win.
Cole MacMillan scored the game-winner in a second period that saw the Panthers break out for the team's first lead in the series.
The best-of-five series is tied 1-1 with Games 3 and 4 in Charlottetown Monday and Tuesday. Game times are 7 p.m.
“We just have to play the same way every night. . . .We have to live by the sword and die by the sword,” said coach Forbes MacPherson. “We’re a team that’s built on speed and energy and that’s what we have to bring every night.”
The game saw UPEI use that speed to its advantage as Panthers beat UNB players in most puck battles in Friday's win.
The team also played a disciplined game and was assessed only 12 minutes on six infractions, while UNB served 43 minutes on 12 infractions.
UPEI went 3-for-8 on the power play, while UNB failed to capitalize on its three power plays and allowed a short-handed goal.
The game also saw the Panthers play backup netminder Mavric Parks, who stopped 18 shots.
UNB opened the scoring at 6:19 of the first period, when Montrose native Colby Pridham scored on Parks.
UNB’s other goal, went to the team’s other P.E.I. player Cam Critchlow, a Summerside native, midway through the second period.
Critchlow was later kicked out in the game’s final minutes after laying a vicious hit to the head of UPEI forward Tyler Brown.
MacPherson said after the game that Brown was “banged up” but “fine.”
UNB assists went to Nick MacNeil, Marc-Antoine Desnoyers, Cam Braes and Bryce Swan.
With UPEI down 1-0 early in the first, defenceman Matt Maione scored during a power-play break out at 16:38 to tie the game entering the first intermission.
Shots on goal were 13-5 in favour of UPEI after the first period.
The team also entered the second period aggressively with Jordan Knox scoring on a back-hander during a penalty-kill 27 seconds in.
That was followed by MacMillan’s goal at 6:49, which would prove to be the game-winner as the Panther grinded out UNB in the third period.
Mike MacIsaac scored on a power play with 44 seconds left in the game to seal the Panthers’ win.
UPEI assists went to Knox, Travis McIsaac, Maione, Chris DeSousa, Harrison McIver and Reggie Traccitto.
UNB netminder Daniel Lacosta made 26 saves.
MacPherson said the team would have to bring the same aggressive style into Monday’s game.
“Nothing changes for us,” he said.