By Thomas Becker
The UPEI Panthers broke out of a two-game scoring drought in a big way Wednesday night when they took down the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues 4-1.
Kaylee Dufresne led the charge with pair of goals, while Rachel Colle and Delaney Boehm each found the back of the net as well. Colle also added two assists and finished with a game-high three points.
After frustrating losses to the St. FX X-Women and UNB Reds, the Panthers (18-6-1) wanted this one badly.
"It was crucial to get this win today," said Dufresne, who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "We knew coming into this game that they (Moncton) needed a win, but we also needed the win. Everybody was hungry and everyone gave everything they had to make sure we got those two points."
The drought extended throughout a scoreless first period, as both teams failed to capitalize on their only power play of the frame. Still, Panthers head coach Bruce Donaldson was encouraged with what he saw and it was only a matter of time before his team broke through.
"We were doing a lot of little things well, we just weren't finishing," he said.
That changed just 32 seconds into the middle stanza. Defenceman Sophie Vandale picked up speed through the neutral zone and centred a pass from the right corner to Colle, who put away the quick-release shot.
Dufresne then extended the lead 2-0 on a power play marker at 6:56. Colle found the fourth-year forward in the slot where she stuck her stick out and tipped it past Audrey Berthiaume. The Moncton (6-18-1) goaltender finished with 19 saves in the loss.
After the game, Dufresne mentioned how her team thrives when they have the lead and their ability to shut down opponents afterwards.
"We're a team that loves to play when we're up. And when we're up, we can contain any team in this league."
UPEI got to Berthiaume again 6:43 into the third, when Colle wrapped around the net and passed it in front to Boehm who roofed the backhand.
Midway through the period, Moncton (6-18-1) decided to pull their goalie while on a power play in a desperate attempt to get back in the game. Camille Scherger was just too strong between the pipes, where she turned aside 26 shots. The gutsy move didn't pay off for the Aigles Bleues, as the Panthers cleared the puck to safety before Dufresne connected on her second goal of the contest.
Moncton eventually broke the shutout at 15:55, when Jessica Turbide scored on a rebound that just trickled past the goal line. But that's all the offence could muster in a must win game.
The Panthers hit the road again on Sunday where they'll take on the Mount Allison Mounties. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan