Panthers host Ontario team at 7 p.m.
The UPEI Panthers get a chance to see how the team looks for the upcoming season starting tonight.
The Panthers host the University of Ontario Institute of Technology tonight at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in pre-season university hockey action.
“This weekend is a little more about the rookies,” said coach Bruce Donaldson. “We won’t dress probably two vets each game.”
The team lost five players from last season, including forward Justine Wong, captain Jaime Lynn Donaldson as well as goalies Kristy Dobson and Bailey Toupin. They all graduated while forward Ashley Fitzpatrick decided to transfer schools to Lethbridge in her home province of Alberta.
The team has added seven rookies, including Winsloe native Emma Martin, who patrolled the blue-line last season for the Capital District Cyclones.
“She has great size and is very mobile,” Donaldson said.
He envisions the stay-at-home defenceman partnering with one of the veterans this season.
With her strong skating and as she gains experience, Donaldson said: “I think she has the potential to be one of the best D in the AUS.”
Up front there is a number of new faces, including Teagan Pringle, Amy Mountenay and Kaitlyn Roy.
“She is quick, she is agile and reads the play very, very well,” Donaldson said of Mountainey.
The new players also includes Courtney Arseneau, Cornelia Geib and Rebecca Watson.
While the Panthers were strong defensively last season they were among the lowest-scoring teams. “We need to be better in that end of the building and I think with what we have we should be,” Donaldson said.
The new players, coupled with the returnees should help put more goals on the board.
The team will carry two goalies, seven defencemen and 14 forwards.
Second-year goalie Marie Soleil (Sunshine) Deschenes, who won the starting job last season, will start tonight.