An overtime period ended in a flash of disappointment for the UPEI men’s hockey Panthers Wednesday night.
Moncton Blue Eagles forward Danny Chiasson scored unassisted only 21 seconds into the extra period to drop the Panthers 4-3 in Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey action at MacLauchlan Arena.
With the Panthers outshooting Moncton 13-7 through a scoreless third period, a three-on-one Moncton rush only seconds into the overtime ended the game unexpectedly.
UPEI captain Mason Wilgosh said the lone point was the only positive the team could take from the loss.
“We’re not happy with the way we played,” Wilgosh said. “We’ve been playing inconsistently lately. We’re winning one and losing one. We can’t seem to string a couple wins together.”
The game saw a back-and-forth battle through much of the three regulation periods, with Panther forward Matthew Brenton opening scoring 4:09 into the game on a shot that deflected off Moncton netminder Adrien Lemay’s stick blade.
Pierre Durepos answered back at 9:40 to tie the game, with Brenton then scoring his second of the night at 18:39.
Brenton had received a pass in front of Lemay to drill a one-timer shot behind the netminder, giving UPEI a 2-1 lead going into the third.
Moncton turned the tables early in the second period when Pier-Antoine Dion and Alex Emond both scored within the first four minutes to give the Blue Eagles their first lead in the game.
UPEI forward Chris DeSousa then made it 3-3 with a far shot from Lemay’s left side.
Harrison McIver and Nathan McQuaid each picked up a pair of assists for UPEI, while defenceman Matthew Maione earned a single.
Brothers Allain and Alex Saulnier each had a pair
of assists for Moncton, while Chiasson and Samuel Groulx both had one.
While the Panthers seemed to carry the momentum in the third, an early overtime rush sealed the team’s fate when Chiasson drilled a puck top shelf on UPEI netminder Mavric Parks.
Parks stopped 25 shots in the loss, while Lemay made 33 saves.
While UPEI’s penalty kill was strong, killing off two Moncton power plays including a 5-on-3, the team couldn’t capitalize on five power plays.
“Special teams are huge in this league. Our penalty kill gave us a chance but our power play wasn’t on tonight,” said Wilgosh. “We’ve got to work on finding the net and just bearing down to get those opportunities and hopefully things will turn around for us.”
Brenton agreed that the team has to find a consistency in their play.
“We’ve got to be able to string together a few wins in a row,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy going down the stretch. We’re just going to have to push hard as a group. We need all 20 guys playing every night.”
UPEI is sitting with a 7-7-2 record and tied with Saint Mary’s for fifth place.
The third-place Blue Eagles are 10-7-0.
With only a handful of games remaining in the season, Wilgosh said he doesn’t have to stress the importance of hard work during the final stretch.
“Everyone knows how important it is . . . there aren’t many games left and it comes quick.”
UPEI will play its next game Friday against the St. F.X. X-Men in Antigonish. The team will then play Saint Mary’s in Halifax on Saturday.