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Panthers begin 2019 with slew of home games

The UPEI Panthers play in the Atlantic University Sport.
The UPEI Panthers play in the Atlantic University Sport. - Contributed

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – It’s going to be a busy weekend for the UPEI Panthers.
The action kicks off tonight as the men’s hockey team plays the Acadia Axemen at 7 p.m. at MacLauchlan Arena.
It is the first in a trio of games for Hockey Day in P.E.I., in partnership with the Charlottetown Islanders. Patrons can watch all three games for $20. It is $10 for season-ticket holders of the Panthers or Islanders. Contact the Eastlink Centre Box Office for tickets.
“This is another big weekend for us,” said Panthers coach Forbes MacPherson. “The second half of the season, we play a lot on the road, so it is critical that we take care of business at home. Every point is critical when making a push to make the playoffs.”

Saturday
A busy Saturday for the Panthers begins at 4 p.m. as the women’s hockey team plays Mount Allison at Eastlink Centre in the second of the Hockey Day promotion.
“Mount A is a very hard-working team with some key offensive players who can hurt you if you give them opportunities,” said Panthers coach Bruce Donaldson. “The focus this weekend will be to improve on our defensive play in all three areas of the game. Specialty teams will continue to play a big part of our success, so we need to focus on doing both the power play and penalty kill well. We did a fairly good job defending in the first half, but we need to get better as we progress through the second half of the season.”
The final game in the Hockey Day promotion sees the Islanders host Cape Breton at 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.
The men’s hockey Panthers host the Saint Mary’s Huskies at 7 p.m.
It is also a busy day on the basketball court as both UPEI squads host Cape Breton (CBU). The women play at 6 p.m. before the men tip off at 8 p.m.
“The team is excited to get back on the court to kick off the second semester versus CBU,” said women’s coach Matt Gamblin.
“The Capers are a well-coached team that finished the first half of the season on a winning streak,” said men’s hoops coach Darrell Glenn. “This is a big weekend points-wise, because the winner will pick up four points. Anytime you are at home and you have a chance to get four points in this league, you really want to make sure you’ve done all you can to prepare.”

Sunday
The Panthers women’s hockey team finishes the weekend by hosting the St. Thomas (STU) Tommies Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Eastern Kings Sportsplex in Souris.
“STU is ranked fifth in the country with only two losses, so clearly they are playing very well,” Donaldson said. “They have a very mature line-up with strong goaltending, so it’s critical that we keep the game in front of us and play to our strengths.”

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