By Thomas Becker
Photo Janessa Hogan
It looked as though the game was headed to overtime after Dalhousie knotted it up at one apiece with only 4:27 remaining. But rookie forward Jenna Pellerin countered 10 seconds later with the decisive goal as the Panthers edged the Tigers 2-1 Saturday night.
"We needed that," Pellerin said. "After we got scored on we needed to push back, so it was good time to get a goal."
Jessie Brown opened the scoring at 14:25 into the second period, while Pellerin delivered the final blow late in the third. Marie-Soleil Deschenes was solid in net, stopping 20 of the 21 shots she faced.
"She (Deschenes) really bailed us out on a few occasions," said Panthers head coach Bruce Donaldson. "We're blessed with great goaltending, but other players have to pick it up."
Both teams traded shots in the opening period where they played to a scoreless draw, however the period still had its scoring opportunities.
Midway through the period, Pellerin caught Dalhousie napping on a line change and went in alone for the breakaway, but Fabiana Petricca batted the puck aside to deny the scoring threat.
The Tigers had a chance to pull ahead with two power plays in the first, but the steady play of Deschenes was crucial in keeping the game deadlocked at zeros as she stopped all six shots she faced.
Deschenes came up big again 12 minutes into the second, when she stopped a series of shots on a penalty kill, including a point-blank shot that she corralled with her chest.
Two minutes later, Brown put the Panthers on top 1-0 with a power play marker as she gathered a rebound and fired a shot past a sprawling Petricca, who tried to recover after making the initial save.
Petricca settled down in the third period, limiting UPEI on the power play to keep it at a one-goal deficit.
The Tigers would reward their goaltender late in the third period as Dalhousie forced a turnover in Panther territory and capitalized on the two-on-one, tying the game on a Tara Morning goal.
However the Tigers wouldn't have time to celebrate as the Panthers responded 10 seconds later on Pellerin's first goal of the season for the 2-1 final.
The Panthers will hit the ice again in the New Year when they take on the same Tigers on Jan. 7 at 3 p.m.