The UPEI Panthers are playing to extend their season tonight.
The Panthers trail the Saint Mary’s Huskies 1-0 in the best-of-three Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey quarter-final. Game time is 7 p.m. at MacLauchlan Arena.
“I kind of woke up this morning, looked at the calendar and saw Feb. 13th and it kind of sunk in that you don't want this to end,” Panthers veteran Kameron Kielly said Thursday. “I don't want this to be the last game, nobody in the room does. … It’s crazy how quickly the year goes in university. We have to find a way to get it done on home ice tomorrow.”
A win tonight and the Panthers will play a deciding game Sunday in Halifax.
The Huskies took Game 1 with a dramatic 5-4 victory Wednesday in the Nova Scotia capital.
Saint Mary’s led 1-0 after the first period, but UPEI took a 3-2 lead to the third.
Former Charlottetown Islanders forward Sam King tied the game 2:35 into the final frame and Joel Bishop gave the Huskies the lead midway through the period.
Darian Pilon tied the game with 48 seconds left on a 6-on-4 power play.
The tie was short-lived as Dawson Theede scored the winner with 3.2 seconds showing on the clock.
“It was a tough one for all of us, kind of a heartbreaker for Game 1 of the playoffs,” Kielly said. “But, honestly, the beauty of this league is it's a best-of-three … (and) we have a good chance tomorrow to force (Game 3 on) Sunday.”
Keith Getson, another former Isles forward, had a goal and two assists in his first playoff game for the Huskies. Connor McGlynn also scored in the victory. Logan DeNoble and Bronson Beaton each had two assists in the win while Stephen Johnson, Anthony Repaci, Bishop and Nick Welsh had singles.
Kyle Maksimovich had two goals and an assist for UPEI while Pilon’s twin brother, Drake, also scored. Darian Pilon and Filip Rydstrom had two assists while Kielly, Tanner McCabe and Andrew Picco each had one. Rydstrom and Kielly both played their junior hockey in Charlottetown.
Eric Brassard, another former Islander, made 29 saves for the victory while Simon Hofley stopped 23 shots in the loss.
In the other quarter-final, host Moncton defeated St. FX 3-2 to take Game 1.
Vincent Deslauriers scored all three goals in the win, including the winner short-handed with five seconds remaining in the second period. Maxime St-Cyr had three assists.
Regan Spears, on the power play, and Cole MacDonald with a second left in the third replied for St. FX.
Etienne Montpetit made 29 saves for the victory while Blade Mann-Dixon, who played half a season with the Islanders, stopped 40 shots in the loss.