By Thomas Becker
After surrendering two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, the Saint Mary's Huskies responded with eight unanswered to come away with a convincing 8-2 win over the UPEI Panthers.
Defenceman Nick Welsh recorded a career-high six assists and was named Subway Player of the Game for his Friday night performance. Anthony Repaci, Mitchell Balmas and Stephen Johnson netted two goals apiece, while Dylan DiPerna and Jonathan Hampton put away the other two.
"That's my game," Welsh said. "I'm out there trying to create offence every shift and tonight we were on in the second and third periods."
The Panthers (1-3-1) came out the aggressors and were the better team through the first 10 minutes of the game. They connected on their first goal at 7:32 when Chad Labelle chased down the puck in the neutral zone, skated up the right wing and wristed a shot glove side corner for the 1-0 lead.
The team that looked so sharp to begin, suddenly fell apart, as the Huskies began their takeover. Repaci connected on a one-timer at 15:12, when Welsh found the captain at the top of the right circle, as the Huskies (4-2) trimmed the deficit in half heading into the second.
"We knew that first period wasn't our game, we came out completely flat," Welsh said. "They jumped on us early and we knew going into the second there wasn't much that needed to be said, we just came out ready to play our game and we proved it."
Saint Mary's knotted things up just 47 seconds into the frame when Dawson Theede passed it off to the trailing Johnson, who deposited the quick-release shot. Twenty-three seconds later, Hampton jabbed home a rebound off Welsh's shot to pull his team ahead 3-2.
The visitors showed off their precision passing and carved up the opponent's defence 12 minutes in, leading to an easy goal for Balmas, who just tapped it in.
The Huskies took advantage of UPEI's frustration and undisciplined play, as they put up three power play goals in the final period. They'd finish 4-of-6 with the man-advantage.
"Our power play has been struggling to start the year," Welsh said. "We've had a lot of chances, but we haven't been putting them in the back of the net. Tonight we started to get some bounces."
Off a faceoff win at 2:17, DiPerna cycled the puck to Balmas, who fired the one-timer from the right circle past goaltender Simon Hofley. Five minutes later, Repaci netted his second when he went top-shelf with the wrister.
DiPerna added an even-strength goal at 13:48, when he laced a wrister from the right circle. Johnson then closed things out with another power play marker three minutes later, as he buried the rebound off DiPerna's initial shot.
"It gives us a lot of confidence, especially after coming out flat like we did," Welsh said of the team's lopsided win. "We know that if we play our game, we can compete against any team in the country."
The Panthers get a chance to turn things around on Oct. 19 when they visit the Acadia Axemen. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan