© Guardian photo by Nigel Armstrong
Chris Desousa (28) looks to control a rebound in front of Saint Mary’s Huskies goaltender Anthony Peters during second period Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey action Friday at MacLauchlan Arena in Charlottetown.
The UPEI men’s hockey Panthers suffered a heartbreaking 5-2 loss to the Saint Mary’s Huskies at MacLauchlan Arena on Valentine’s Day.
The Panthers seemed to have Friday’s game in the bag, entering the third period with the score tied 2-2 and leading 25-11 in shots.
However, a defensive collapse late in the third period led to SMU forward Ryan Hillier scoring the game-winner.
Hillier fought his way through UPEI defenders before blasting a shot past netminder Wayne Savage.
Defenceman Alex Wall, who scored one of the Panthers goals, said the team still has a gap to close in its own zone.
“We played good in the offensive zone it was just in the defensive zone we had some giveaways and they scored on any chance they had,” said Wall. “We just can’t be giving them chances, it’s sloppy.”
The squad will be looking to shut down on the blue-line when it hosts the St. F.X. X-Men for the final regulation game of the season tonight at 7 p.m.
SMU forward Gerrad Grant opened up scoring at 13:34 in Friday’s first period.
UPEI forward Dana Fraser then took advantage of a power play and screen in front of netminder Anthony Peters to tie the game at 17:49.
Fraser said he felt the team had a better game than what showed in the outcome and pointed to the final shot count of 38-21.
“Our effort was there tonight … there were a couple of bad bounces and they capitalized. That was the difference,” said Fraser. “Like coach (Forbes MacPherson) said, we had a great game and everyone thought we played well … there were some bad bounces but that’s hockey.”
The Huskies got their own power play goal courtesy of Michael D’Orazio at 7:03 in the second period.
Wall then answered back for the Panthers at 16:23 to even the score going into the second intermission.
The Panthers kept the extra firepower coming in the third period but were unable to break past Peters for a third time.
With Hillier’s goal coming at 13:26, a slow-moving shot from Stephen Johnston at 17:43 widened the gap 4-2 in the game’s dying minutes.
Johnston then tapped the puck into an empty UPEI net at 19:33 for the 5-2 final.
The physical game saw plenty of hits, the most notable being UPEI forward Tyler Brown’s massive hit on a Saint Mary’s player at centre ice in the third period.
Wall said the team plans to keep playing physical.
“Make them feel the hits and feel the game,” said Wall.
“We are a kind of small (team) but guys just give it their all. Brown is a pretty decent sized guy … he brings that (physicality) to the game every time. We need everyone to do that. That’s how we win.”
Brown earned two assists in the game, while Fraser and Jordan Mayer each had singles.
Kyle Pereira earned two assists for SMU. Singles went to Grant, Jeff Marchand, Cory Tanaka, Steven Shipley and Stephen MacAulay.
Other AUS games Friday saw St. F.X. down St. Thomas 5-3, UNB shut out Dalhousie 7-0 and Acadia defeated Moncton 5-2.
BILLY MULLIGAN HONOURED
The UPEI men’s hockey team will recognize Billy Mulligan during tonight’s game.
The UPEI Panthers women’s hockey team posted a 1-0 shutout victory over Mount Allison in Atlantic University Sport action Friday in Sackville, N.B.
UPEI's Emma Martin scored the game's lone goal unassisted at 9:20 of the third period. Panthers goalie Marie-Soleil Deschenes stopped 24 shots for the shutout victory and ended the year with a 6-13 record, a 2.53 goals against-average and an .898 save percentage.
UPEI finished the season 9-13-2 and, as the sixth playoff seed, has to wait until today to see whether its first round opponent (and third seed) is the University of Moncton or St. Thomas, which were tied at 27 points going into today games.
Saint Mary’s beat St. F.X. 4-2 in Friday’s other game.
Today, Moncton plays Saint Mary’s, St. Thomas faces Mount Allison and Dalhousie battles St. F.X.
Also Friday, the women’s team signed Lindsay Johnston for the 2014-15 season.
Johnston, a five-foot, seven-inch forward from Bowmanville, Ont., is in her third season with the Durham West Lightning of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.
She will be enrolled in the psychology program.