© Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
UPEI Panthers guard Katie Donahoe, right, watches her shot in front of teammate Jessica Patenaude during Thursday’s practice.
UPEI is looking to clean up on the glass tonight when the UNB Varsity Reds come to town in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) men’s basketball.
“They’re a very strong rebounding team and we need to take care of our own glass for sure. We can’t give up second shots to that team,” said Panthers coach Tim Kendrick.
UPEI (6-6) is two points back of second-place UNB (8-3) in the standings. UPEI has played one more game. The teams meet Saturday at 5 p.m.
UNB guard Javon Masters leads the league in scoring at nearly 28 points per game.
William McFee, Daniel Quirion and Jordan Irvine are also players the Panthers will be keeping an eye on.
“We have to make sure defensively that we’re aware of where they are on the court at all times,” Kendrick said.
UNB swept UPEI in mid-November in Fredericton to drop the Panthers to 0-4. UPEI has gone 6-2 since, including an overtime loss at St. F.X. and a loss last weekend at first-place Acadia.
“We feel like we’ve turned a big corner,” Kendrick said.
“Our players have really come to play. They’ve been practicing hard and playing harder and we need that to continue.”
He said the team has been tougher defensively and mentally in recent games, a trend it needs to maintain to beat the conference’s upper echelon squads.
The Panthers are as healthy as they have been all season, the coach said.
The Panthers women’s basketball team is looking to make some ground in the standing this weekend against the Varsity Reds.
UPEI (5-7) has 10 points, two up on last-place UNB (3-8), which has lost six straight games. The Panthers are in a three-way tie for fifth place.
“I think every game you play now is important,” coach Greg Gould said. “UNB is a team that’s behind us in the standings, and we’d like to keep them behind us.”
The teams play tonight at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Panthers started the season 3-0 before losing 72-66 to UNB in overtime on Nov. 15. UPEI has since lost a game by a point and two by two points this season.
“We’ve had a chance to certainly have won more games than we (have) right now, but the bottom line is you have to finish,” Gould said.
The Panthers are relatively healthy, but a couple of players’ statuses will not be known until closer to game time.
Fourth-year guard Danielle MacDonald is trying to raise $1,000 for the Canadian Cancer Foundation. She is participating in the Shave For The Brave, in which she will be donating eight inches of her hair.
To donate, go to http://www.gofundme.com/6cr3zo.
The three hottest AUS men’s hockey teams will be in Charlottetown this weekend.
UPEI (10-7-2) host Moncton (12-7-0) tonight
at and first-place UNB
(16-3-1) Saturday. The Varsity Reds have won five straight games while Moncton has rolled off three in a row and the Panthers back-to-back victories.
“Both (teams) have been rivals for a number of years dating back to the old MacAdam Division,” said Panthers coach Forbes MacPherson. “They’re both ahead of us in the standings, so it’s a huge weekend for us to try and makeup some ground.”
For UPEI to be successful, it focuses on a number of aspects of its games. They include playing with energy and being solid defensively, eliminating the opposition’s speed through the neutral zone while maintaining its own.
“If we do those well, then we think we give ourselves a chance,” MacPherson said.
The Panthers enter tonight’s game banged up after a pair of victories in Nova Scotia a week ago.
“Last weekend took a toll on us,” MacPherson said.
The team will have a better idea today who will be able to dress. Recent addition Nick Czinder is not ready to join the lineup.
A decision on tonight’s starting goalie was not available Thursday afternoon.
The Panthers women’s hockey team is in Halifax for a pair of games.
UPEI (7-10) is in sixth place in the seven-team conference, but only five points back of third.
They play last-place Dalhousie (5-11-2) tonight at 7 p.m. at second-place Saint Mary’s (12-4-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Panthers have won all three meetings with Dalhousie, but two were one-goal games and another was a two-goal game.
Saint Mary’s has won both games with the Panthers, but they were 2-1 and 4-2 victories.
When The Play
UPEI Panthers’ schedules:
6 p.m. – UNB at UPEI
7 p.m. – UPEI at Dalhousie
7:30 p.m. – Moncton at UPEI
8 p.m. – UNB at UPEI
2 p.m. – UPEI at Saint Mary’s
3 p.m. – UNB at UPEI
5 p.m. – UNB at UPEI
7 p.m. – UNB at UPEI
All games available on http://austv.ca/