Matthew Brenton was the hero for the UPEI men’s hockey Panthers during a
2-1 win over the Moncton Blue Eagles Friday night at MacLauchlan Arena.
The speedy left-winger scored the game-winner and earned an assist in the game, which put the two rivals in a tie for third place in the Atlantic University Sport with 24 points.
It was also a big win for Brenton personally, who has earned five goals and three assists this year for eight points with half of those occurring in the last month.
The fourth-year player was posting offensive numbers at the start of the season until he suffered a concussion in the fourth game.
While the Stewiacke, N.S., native only missed one game from the injury, he said it affected his play for more than a month until he had the chance to “regroup” during the break.
“I had some time battling before the break to get over the symptoms and feel good again,” he said. “I finally have my confidence rolling again so I just want to take that and use it as momentum, game after game.”
Brenton and the squad will be hoping to tap into that momentum when they host the UNB Varsity Reds at 7 p.m. tonight. UNB is tied with Acadia for first place with 35 points.
Moncton forward Eric Faille scored first in Friday’s game at 7:01 in the second period.
Linemate Danny Chiasson had fired the puck just wide from the right side of UPEI’s net. Faille picked the puck up and fired it past netminder Wayne Savage. Pierre Durepos also earned an assist on the play.
UPEI forward Dana Fraser answered back a minute later during a two-on-one rush with Brenton.
Brenton passed the puck from the right to a wide-open Fraser, who deked around Moncton netminder Adrien Lemay to score at 8:12. Forward Chris DeSousa also earned an assist.
While the Panthers had a number of chances to score during two early power plays in the third period, the team sealed the deal with a messy goal late in the game.
With only a few minutes left and UPEI on its third power play of the period, defenceman Matt Maione shot the puck at Lemay before forward Travis McIsaac poked it into the netminder’s legs.
With a scramble ensuing, Brenton provided the finishing touch to seal the win.
“I just remember dragging my stick underneath (Lemay) to haul it in underneath his body,” said Brenton. “Those are the type of goals you’re going to get this time of year. It’s like playoff hockey, you go to the net, crash, bang and get those rebounds.”
The Panthers outshot Moncton 31-18.
It was the third consecutive win for Savage, who was named CIS and AUS male athlete of the week.
“You don’t read to much into it, it was only two games of a 28-game season . . . I think we all put in a good effort out there,” said Savage.
He predicted the remainder of this season’s games to be as close as Friday’s battle.
“This game was only a one-goal game and I think that’s the way it’s going to be against pretty much everybody from here on out.”
While Brenton was the first star in the game, the forward credited the win to a full team effort.
It’s an effort the Panthers will have to duplicate eight more times until the end of the regular season, he said.
“We just have to keep going right to the end here,” he said. “We have to have a hard effort every night and just be prepared and ready to go.”