The UPEI Panthers scored three goals in 2:29 in the second period en route to a 6-3 victory over the Acadia Axemen Wednesday in Wolfville, N.S., in Game 1 of their playoff series.
The Panthers host Game 2 of the best-of-three Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey quarter-final Friday at 7 p.m.
“We got great goaltending, our D played hard and our forwards we’re committed, so we were very fortunate to get the result we were hoping for,” head coach Forbes MacPherson said Wednesday night.
The Panthers led 1-0 after the first period on Nelson Armstrong’s goal.
Mike Cazzola tied it 1:16 into the second period.
Fifth-year Panthers forward Cole MacMillan restored the lead 13 seconds later.
“That was a critical moment . . . for us to bounce right back,” MacPherson said. “The key part to that was our forecheck. We didn't get away from our game.”
Brent Andrews made it 3-1 a minute later and Chad Labelle scored on the power play to make it 4-1 3:58 into the second period. It was the end of the night for Axemen goalie Brandon Glover, who allowed four goals on 11 shots.
Derek Ryckman gave the Panthers a 5-1 lead heading to the third.
Taylor Makin and Remy Giftopoulos made it 5-3 before Brock Beukeboom sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
Marcus Power had three assists, Beni Berisha and Sam Aulie each had two while singles went to Nick Parker, Craig MacLauchlan, MacMillan and captain Mason Wilgosh.
Mavric Parks made 37 saves for the win while Robert Steeves stopped 14 of 15 shots he faced in relief of Glover.
Parks missed 10 games this semester with a lower-body injury. The fifth-year Panther returned to action during the last week of the regular season.
“Mavric was the Mavric that we’ve all become accustomed to seeing at The Mac the last four and some years,” MacPherson said.
The coach said it was nice to win the first game, but his team knows the series is a long way from being over.
“They’ve played a lot of hockey, they know we certainly haven’t won anything yet,” he said. Acadia is “a top-end team.”