By Thomas Becker
The UPEI Panthers opened the New Year in dominant style, as they toppled the Mount Allison Mounties 6-0 Saturday night.
After a grind-it-out first 40 minutes, the Panthers (9-6-1) erupted for five goals in the third period. Captain Emma Weatherbie accounted for two them, while teammates Jenna Pellerin, Faith Steeves and Delaney Boehm also scored in the decisive frame. However, it was Taylor Gillis who delivered the game-winner late in the second.
Head coach Bruce Donaldson understands the importance of grabbing wins and points in the latter half of the season, so he was understandably pleased with the result.
"It's great when you are getting goals from two or three lines," he said. "It makes us harder to play against and harder to figure out when you have a balanced attack."
Shots were hard to come by in a defensive-minded first period, as the two teams combined for just 12 shots in 20 minutes. The Panthers had the edge with nine of them, but most of the shots were from the outside, which was easy picking for the Mountie goaltender Kaitlin Mowbray.
UPEI found themselves on a power play six minutes into the second and managed to get better looks on net, but couldn't bury one past Mowbray, who turned away four shots on the penalty kill.
With pressure mounting, the Panthers finally broke through at 13:27, when Gillis picked off a pass on the in the neutral zone, raced past the defence and deked out the netminder with a beautiful backhand for the game's opening goal.
Defensively, the home team continued to stifle Mount Allison (3-14-0), who only managed to get off five shots in the frame, all of which were easily handled by Camille Scherger. Scherger faced just 12 shots all game for her first shutout of the campaign.
After Weatherbie's quick goal at 4:14 into the third period, UPEI went on a furious run. First it was Steeves, who centred a beautiful pass to Pellerin for the quick-release tally at 5:55. Steeves was at it again 12 seconds later when she fired the puck in the back of the net to make it a four-goal game.
At 14:59, it was Boehm's turn to get in on all the action, as she cleaned up the loose puck after Kelly Clements weaved through the Mountie defence to set up the scoring opportunity. Weatherbie then closed out the barrage in the final minute of the game with her second marker of the game.
"We just tried to keep them on the game plan," Donaldson said of the third-period outburst. "Keep doing the little things well and hope the next goal comes. Weatherbie's first goal really got things going and we took off from there."
The Panthers don't have a lot of time to celebrate, as they head to Souris for a Jan. 6 date against the St. Thomas Tommies. Puck drop is 3:30 p.m.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan