The Panthers kick off the New Year with an exciting mix of home games this weekend. UPEI's basketball and hockey teams are keen to build on their momentum in the second half of the season (see Thomas Becker's recap of the first half).
The action kicks off Friday night as the UPEI Men's Hockey team plays the first in a hat-trick of games for Hockey Day in PEI, in partnership with the Charlottetown Islanders. See all three games of Hockey Day in PEI for just $20! That deal is improved to just $10 for season-ticket holders of the Panthers or Islanders. Contact the Eastlink Centre Box Office for tickets.
The Panthers defend home ice in MacLauchlan Arena against Acadia University at 7:00 pm.
"This is another big weekend for us," said Forbes MacPherson, coach of UPEI Men's Hockey. "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."
A busy Saturday for the Panthers begins at 4:00 pm as the UPEI Women's Hockey team plays Mount Allison University at Charlottetown's Eastlink Centre.
"Mount A is a very hard working team with some key offensive players who can hurt you if you give them opportunities," said Bruce Donaldson, coach of UPEI Women's Hockey. "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 men play one more home game Saturday night, hosting Saint Mary's University at 7:00 pm.
Saturday is also a busy day on the basketball court in UPEI's Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre as both the UPEI Women's and Men's Basketball teams host Cape Breton University. The women play at 6:00 pm. The men tip off at 8:00 pm.
"The team is excited to get back on the court to kick off the second semester versus CBU," said Matt Gamblin, coach of the UPEI Women's Basketball team.
"The Capers are a well-coached team that finished the first half of the season on a winning streak," said Darrell Glenn, coach of the UPEI Men's Basketball team. "We are excited about being back in the gym and working on the things that we felt hurt our progress in the first half of the season. 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."
The UPEI Women's Hockey team finishes the weekend with a game against St. Thomas University. The game starts at 3:30 pm in Souris' Eastern Kings Arena.
"STU is ranked fifth in the country with only two losses, so clearly they are playing very well," said Bruce Donaldson, coach of UPEI Women's Hockey. "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."
As usual, all UPEI students get into home games for free! Come on out and cheer on your Panthers!
Go Panthers Go!