By Thomas Becker
The UNB Reds used a two-goal third period to scrape by the UPEI Panthers 3-2 Saturday night.
Tyler Boland netted a pair of goals to lead the way, while teammate Oliver Cooper added the other.
Boland and Cooper scored back-to-back goals just two minutes apart midway through the third to seize control of the game.
"We pride ourselves of being a good third period team," said Boland, who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "When the third period comes around and we know we have to bear down, our leadership group does such a good job of keeping us focused."
It was an evenly matched battle in the first period with no team getting more than 10 shots on net. But it was the Reds (3-1) who struck first on a power play goal eight minutes in. The puck cycled to Mark Rassell, who skated from the side of the net to the low slot and passed it off to Boland for the easy tap in.
The Panthers (1-2-1) responded at 10:04 when Drake Pilon flew in from the right wing and fired a shot off rookie goaltender Samuel Harvey, who surrendered a long rebound, which led to an easy snipe by Darian Pilon to tie it at one apiece.
UPEI netminder, Simon Hofley, stepped up in a big way in the middle stanza and may have had his best game of season despite the loss. Hofley made 15 of his 29 saves in the second to keep it locked up at one apiece heading into the third.
Following a faceoff win in the attacking zone, Cooper broke the tie at 8:58 when he shot the puck off a UPEI defender's chest and in. Two minutes later, Matt Murphy skated to the left corner and sent a cross-ice pass to Boland, who batted home the flying puck.
"When you have guys funneling pucks to the net, sometimes the bounces go your way and today it definitely did for me," Boland said.
The home team made things interesting late in the game when rookie Jesse Sutton tipped in Kyle Maksimovich's shot from the left circle for his first of the season. The Reds held on for the remaining 4:38 to come away with the 3-2 win.
Boland credited the Panthers for battling toe-to-toe with them and was relieved to come away with two big points on the road.
"It was definitely a big win for us and something we can build off," he said. "They [UPEI] make it really hard in this rink. Any time we're over here it's a battle."
The Panthers now turn their attention to the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies for an Oct. 18 showdown at 7 p.m.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan