By Thomas Becker
With a balanced attack, the Memorial Sea-Hawks took down the UPEI Panthers 3-1 Saturday afternoon.
Nicole Torraville, Kate Hickey and Holly O'Niell each registered a goal for the victors, as the Sea-Hawks (3-1-1) continued to showcase their newfound offensive ability. The team that scored just six goals in 2018, already has 14 through five games.
"We're trying to be more offensive this season. Last year we were really strong defensively, but we didn't score enough," said Sea-Hawks head coach Mike Power. "We've been training hard in the final third and so far it's working."
The Panthers kept pace with the Sea-Hawks for most of the first half, as each team fought hard for the few shots they had on net.
But Memorial ended the deadlock in the 28th minute when they were awarded a penalty shot after Laura Burge tripped Torraville in the box. On the ensuing kick, Amanda Stanyer made the diving save, but gave up the rebound that Torraville easily put away.
That seemed to spark the Sea-Hawks who answered with another goal just four minutes later. Lauren Taylor curled a pass through UPEI's defence to Hickey, who sprinted in from the left and sent a low shot past the keeper to push the lead 2-0.
"Everyone knows last year we had a bit of a dry spell offensively, but we're figuring out what we're doing up front and not losing confidence in ourselves," said goalkeeper Sydney Walsh, who was named Subway Player of the Game.
Walsh was a big factor in the second half as the Panthers (0-5) took advantage of the blowing wind. The keeper was credited with five saves, none bigger than Sarah Eden's shot that she punched over the crossbar to preserve the two-goal game.
However, there was nothing Walsh could do in 76th minute when Carly Connell found Caitlyn McCloskey at the edge of the box where the rookie fired a shot in the top right corner, cutting the deficit in half.
Despite UPEI's encouraging play, the Sea-Hawks closed the door on a comeback with an injury time goal by O'Neill that sealed the 3-1 win.
For the first time this season, the Panthers' offence looked to force the action rather than wait for things to happen which is a positive sign for head coach Glen Miller and his team to build on.
"We're getting better everyday. It was nice to get some offence going, generating shots and causing some problems," he said. "We started pressing them before they got organized and that's when we were causing problems and turnovers."
The Panthers look to earn their first win of the season on Sunday against the visiting Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues. Game time is 1 p.m.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan