Panthers down Axemen 3-0

By Thomas Becker

Three goals in the game’s opening nine minutes were more than enough for the UPEI Panthers, as they shutout the Acadia Axemen 3-0 Saturday night.

Jesse Sutton and Jordan Maher scored their first goals of the season, while rookie forward Danil Antropov capped off the scoring midway through the period. Kyle Maksimovich led the way with two assists.

Rookie goaltender Jonah Capriotti, who recorded 21 saves for his first AUS shutout, said the offensive outpour helped him relax and made the game easy.

“I have to give it up to the boys for helping me out. The defence was unbelievable tonight and the forwards did their job and got some points on the board.”

The Panthers (3-2-1) jumped all over an Axemen (2-5-0) team that looked fatigued and was outworked shift after shift. It only took three minutes for UPEI to get on the board as Sutton got goaltender Max Paddock to bite on a move before sneaking a backhand by the far post.

Maher then dove for a loose puck in front of the net at 5:48 after Filip Rydstrom’s shot from the side of the net got through Paddock leaving an open net for the sophomore, who extended the lead to 2-0.

The Panthers capitalized on a power play three minutes later when Matt Brassard’s shot from the point was poked in by Antropov as the home team made it a three-goal game where it’d stay the rest of the way.

After the game, UPEI head coach Forbes MacPherson praised his team’s ability to impose their will early and often, especially against a tired opponent playing their second game of a back-to-back.

“It was Acadia’s third game this week and we were sitting here waiting for them,” MacPherson said. “We wanted to establish a presence right off the bat and I thought our guys did a good job of that.”

A significant development for the Panthers this season has been their much-improved defence. Through six games, they’ve allowed the second-fewest goals and proven they can hold a lead more consistently. After seizing control early in the first period, they continued to play with intensity and poise in the defensive zone as they limited Acadia to just 21 shots, all of which were easily handled by Capriotti.

“There were spurts where Acadia had us on our heels, but we managed to rebound from that and kept pushing forward,” MacPherson said.

The Panthers return to the ice Oct. 29 when they take on the Saint Mary’s Huskies in Halifax.

Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan