By Thomas Becker
The Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus have pulled off the upset and eliminated the UPEI Panthers from championship contention after defeating them 1-0 Sunday night.
Rookie defencemen Chantal Beauchamp scored the lone goal midway through the second period en route to the series-clinching win. Moncton swept the best-of-three series 2-0.
"After yesterday's wild game (5-4 final), we were expecting a low scoring game. Luckily it turned in our favour," said Moncton assistant coach Marc-André Côté.
Despite losing all four regular season games against UPEI, Moncton came into the series experienced and playoff ready and it showed.
"We have a couple players here with a lot of experience, but it could have gone either way," Côté said. "The girls are pretty excited, but tomorrow it's back to the grind."
With the win, the Aigles Bleus now turn their attention to a semifinal date with the Saint Mary's Huskies, who finished first in Atlantic University Sport (AUS).
"We're glad to have this series under our belt because now the girls know what it takes to win in the playoffs."
After a scoreless first period, the Aigles Bleus started the second on a power play and it seemed to give them momentum. After surrendering a breakaway opportunity to Panthers' Kaylee Dufresne, Moncton dominated puck possession and controlled the pace of the game.
They finally broke through at 7:42 when Marie-Pier Corriveau found Beauchamp at the top of the right circle and fired it past Marie-Soleil Deschenes for the 1-0 advantage.
The puck spent a lot of time in the Moncton attacking zone, but they were unable to capitalize on their opportunities as the UPEI defence forced a lot of outside shots. Corriveau nearly made it a two-goal game midway through the period, but rang the wrister off the post to keep the score at 1-0 heading into the final period.
The Panthers had three opportunities with the man advantage in the third, where they generated multiple chances, but they couldn't deliver as Moncton goaltender Gabrielle Forget was perfect in net, posting 24 saves for the shutout.