CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – It took two overtimes and a shootout, but the UPEI Panthers pulled out a 2-1 win over the St. Thomas Tommies in an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women’s hockey marathon Friday in Charlottetown.
Both regulation goals came in the second period courtesy of UPEI’s Lindsay Johnston and St. Thomas’ Kaylee Vader and that was it until Sydnee Baker netted the shootout winner via a sweet deke to her backhand that unhinged St. Thomas goalie Abby Clarke.
For Baker, it was a solid victory for a UPEI squad with just two wins in its last nine games, although a St. Thomas 5-on-3 advantage in the second overtime threatened to derail the good work UPEI had put in.
“For sure it’s a momentum shifter going into (today’s game against Mount Allison). We were definitely in a hole so it feels good to get out of it,” said Baker. “Our PK (penalty kill) has been pretty strong this year so we weren’t too nervous, but obviously a 5-on-3 in overtime is not the scenario you want to be in. (We were) a little stressed.”
UPEI upped its record 5-10-7, while St. Thomas fell to 11-7-4. Both teams already clinched post-season spots, but playoff position is the goal now. If things stand as they are, sixth-place UPEI would face third-place St. Thomas in the first round.
After a scoreless first period, the second frame provided the fireworks.
First, Johnston powered through a St. Thomas defender on a 2-on-1 rush and went five-hole on Clarke. Johnston’s fourth goal of the season came 4:48 into the frame.
Ten minutes later, an opportunistic Vader pounced on a puck that bounced loose in a scrum in front of UPEI goalie Megan Sullivan and tied things 1-1.
Power plays punctuated the third stanza as each team had one, but neither could connect and forced the game into OT. St. Thomas went 0-for-6 with the extra skater, while UPEI was 0-for-3.
UPEI had a tractionless power play in the first overtime and survived the 5-on-3 disadvantage in the second OT so Panthers head coach Bruce Donaldson was pleased the win came despite the problems.
“You want to start to get some momentum and this really helps. The 5-on-3 was emotionally draining. A disappointing piece was the power play we had in overtime. We just couldn’t get out of each other’s way,” he said. “They have the second best power play in the league and we kept them off the scoresheet so that’s big.”
Johnston’s goal was unassisted. Lauren Legault and Becky Conner tallied the St. Thomas assists.
Sullivan stopped 21-of-22 shots for the win. Clarke kicked aside 20 shots in the loss.
UPEI hosts Mount Allison tonight at 7 p.m. at MacLauchlan Arena.
A look at Friday’s Atlantic University Sport women’s hockey game at MacLauchlan Arena.
UPEI 2 SO
St. Thomas 1
St. Thomas – Kaylee Vader (2).
UPEI – Lindsay Johnston (4).
St. Thomas – Lauren Legault (10), Becky Conner (5).
UPEI – None.
St. Thomas – Abby Clarke, 20-of-21, loss (9-9).
UPEI – Megan Sullivan, 21-of-22, win (3-10).
By The Numbers
Shots By Period
St. Thomas – 4-9-4-5-0, 22.
UPEI – 4-7-7-3-1, 22.
St. Thomas – 6.
UPEI – 12.
St. Thomas – 0-for-6.
UPEI – 0-for-3.
St. Thomas – 39-of-69, 57 per cent.
UPEI – 30-of-69, 43 per cent.
UPEI (5-10-7) hosts Mount Allison (3-16-3) tonight at 7 p.m. at MacLauchlan Arena