By Thomas Becker
On Friday, the Panthers hit a major high in a win over St. FX. But on Saturday, they hit another low point in a 5-2 loss to the last place Dalhousie Tigers.
After surrendering the equalizer in the third period, the Tigers (3-15-1) responded in a big way with three unanswered goals to grab an important victory, as they look to get back into playoff contention.
Subway Player of the Game, Colton Heffley, was huge in the period recording a goal and an assist.
Trying to carry over the momentum from Friday's emotional win over St. FX, the Panthers (5-14-1) were the ones on the attack. They had a great chance to take an early lead with the two-man advantage, but were unable to capitalize due in large part to Corbin Boes' stellar play in net.
Minutes after Dalhousie killed off the penalty, UPEI forward Riley Whittingham hit the inside of the left post for the Panthers' best chance of the period.
Boes was unbeatable in the frame, where he made 14 of his 37 saves, including back-to-back stops on Kameron Kielly from point-blank range to keep the game scoreless.
Less than a minute into the second period, Tiger Tanner Williams evaded a defender and with some nifty stickhandling moves backhanded the puck past Matthew Mancina for the 1-0 edge.
Midway through the period, the Tigers got to Mancina again. Defenceman Ryan MacKinnon tried to set up the power play offence from their own end, but turned it over in the neutral zone where Dalhousie capitalized. Williams gobbled up the puck and found Kelly Bent, who fired it past the goaltender for the shorthanded marker, stretching the lead 2-0.
The Panthers got one back at 18:37, when Cody Payne forced a turnover, found some space in the left circle and sniped it past Boes, making it a 2-1 game heading into the third.
UPEI found themselves on a power play early in the final period and didn't disappoint, as Darcy Ashley redirected a shot from Kielly, tying the game at two apiece.
Despite surrendering their two-goal lead, the Tigers continued to battle and at 9:07 were rewarded when Alex Pawelczyk's shot trickled past Mancina and in. Five minutes later, Heffley added another after poking the puck past Mancina who tried to cover it up. Mike Evelyn sealed the victory with a late power play marker for the 5-2 final.
The Panthers hit the road next, where they'll take on the St. FX X-Men on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.