Panthers post 4-1 win over Axemen in 2nd period rally

Harper with lone marker for Acadia

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – A Panther-Axemen matchup at MacLauchlan Arena rarely disappoints and on Friday night, UPEI got the better of their rival 4-1. 

After surrendering an early goal, the Panthers (7-5-1) countered with four unanswered to grab the victory. Cody Payne broke out and matched his season total with two goals, while Kameron Kielly and Beau McCue chipped in with a goal apiece.

The Panthers were unlucky in the opening minutes, as they hit the post a couple times and saw several pucks miss just wide of the net. The same couldn’t be said about the Axemen (4-8-2), who found the back of the net at 4:28 when Stephen Harper scored off a faceoff win that eluded goaltender Simon Hofley. 

However, UPEI would get that goal back before the period ended. Troy Lajeunesse connected with Payne, who came in from the left, waited out the keeper and snuck the puck past him to tie it at one apiece. 

The Panthers hit the gas in the second and quickly took the lead at 3:42. Tanner McCabe sent the puck across the crease to Kameron Kielly, who tapped it in the open cage to pull his team ahead 2-1.

Hofley rebounded from his earlier miscue and stepped up in a big way in the third, where he made 13 of his 27 saves. Acadia dominated possession and even had a chance to inch closer with a five-minute power play late in the period, but they couldn’t solve the third-year netminder. With time slipping away, McCue sealed the 4-1 win with an empty net goal. 

“They [Acadia] definitely had a push and they rallied between the second and third, but we were resilient and our killers did a good job blocking shots and taking away shooting lanes,” UPEI head coach Forbes MacPherson said. 

The Panthers look to extend their two-game win streak when they take on the Saint Mary’s Huskies on Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. The Axemen continue their two game road trip against the U SPORTS No. 1 UNB Reds in Fredericton.

Submitted by Thomas Becker, UPEI Panthers Communications