By: Thomas Becker
After a thrilling overtime win in Moncton a week ago, the Panthers continued where they left off, overpowering the Aigles Bleus 8-2 Friday night.
It was a balanced attack for a potent offence that leads the league with 18 goals. Five players scored with 11 players recording at least a point. Leading the way were Subway Player of the Game, Cody Payne with two goals and three assists, Brent Andrews (two goals and an assist) and Marcus Power (two goals and an assist).
"We're just sticking to the system and everyone's playing the right way," said Payne. "I really think we're honing our game and the guys that are working hard are playing and they're getting rewarded."
The game was arguably their strongest effort to date. Every position – goaltending, defence and offence – did their job effectively and never let up from the opening faceoff.
"It's still early in the season and we feel like there's still some things we need to clean up, but I think we played a complete game tonight," said head coach Forbes MacPherson.
Filip Rydstrom opened the scoring for the Panthers (2-1) just 1:27 into the contest. The rookie out of Sweden took a pass from Payne in front of the net and backhanded it top shelf for the early edge. Andrews then doubled the lead just four minutes later.
UPEI continued to attack Moncton goaltender Brandon Thibeau with ferocity, as the lead continued to grow in the second period.
At 5:15, Beau McCue centered a pass for Payne, who wristed it home for the 3-0 advantage. A minute later, Power got in on the scoring action with his fourth goal of the season, pushing the lead to 4-0.
After conceding their fourth goal, Moncton (0-3-1) had enough of their poor showing and started to play with more speed and physicality and it paid off for a brief period.
Joël Blanchard trimmed the deficit 4-1 at the 7:37 mark and teammate Vincent Deslauriers cut it in half two minutes later.
However, their burst of inspired play quickly came to a halt, as the Panthers' offence took over late in the period and didn't let up.
At the 16-minute mark, Payne found Austin Levi breaking out on the wing and on a great individual effort, sniped it past Thibeau to push the lead 5-2.
A minute later, Power tipped in a beautiful cross-ice pass from Kameron Kielly to restore the four-goal lead. Payne added his second goal of the night on a power play marker in the final minute of the period, where they led 7-2. Andrews capped off the night with another goal in the third period to seal this one 8-2.
The Panthers don't have long to celebrate and will look to avenge their opening day loss when they travel to Fredericton to take on the UNB Varsity Reds on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.