By Thomas Becker
The UPEI Panthers battled until the end, but the Saint Mary's Huskies played spoiler on Alumni Night, scoring four unanswered goals (three in the third period) to take the game 5-2.
Subway Player of the Game, Hunter Garlent, led the way with two goals and an assist, including the momentum-changing marker that tied the game late in the second period. Thomas Stavert also had a three-point night with three assists.
With MacLauchlan Arena abuzz on Alumni Night, the Panthers (6-17-1) harnessed the building's energy and were threatening early in the first. Their best opportunity came when Sam Aulie found Kameron Kielly on the doorstep, but Cole Cheveldave made the pad save to keep them off the scoreboard. The goaltender followed that up with two more key stops from point-blank range.
After escaping the Panthers ferocious attack, the Huskies (16-7-1) kicked it into high gear in final six minutes of the period, where they controlled puck possession and shots on goal. Rookie defenceman Alexandar Peters broke the deadlock at 16:35, when he sniped it past Matt Mahalak for the power play marker.
The Panthers came into the second period with the same energy they started out with and it quickly paid off. On a two-on-one break at 2:22, Kielly faked a pass to his running mate and snapped a wrist shot past Cheveldave to tie it at one apiece.
Less than a minute later, Cody Payne released a quick shot off a faceoff win that beat Cheveldave, giving the home team a 2-1 edge.
However the lead lasted just nine minutes, as the third-seeded Huskies squared it up on Garlent's eighth goal of the season.
Aaron Berisha delivered a silencing blow to the home crowd in the opening minutes of the third period with his eighth of the campaign. The goal seemed spark Saint Mary's on both ends of the ice, as they held the Panthers to just two shots, while scoring a pair of goals on the other side.
In the dying minutes of the game, Bronson Beaton buried home a rebound off an Adam Batman shot. Garlent then provided the dagger with empty-netter for the 5-2 final.
UPEI has another tough test on Jan. 24 when they welcome the UNB Varsity Reds to town. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan