Panthers shut out Acadia 3-0 

McCollum makes 26 saves in Axemen loss

By Thomas Becker of UPEI Athletics

The Panthers recorded their fourth straight win Saturday night after shutting out the Acadia Axemen 3-0. 

Darian Pilon, Ryan Stepien and TJ Shea each found the back of the net in the win, while goaltender Jonah Capriotti turned aside 21 shots for his first shutout of the season. 

“The boys are really confident right now. We’re working together and we believe in each other,” Pilon said. 

After a slow start to the game that was highlighted by the strength of each team’s defence, the Panthers (5-3-0) finally broke the deadlock at 11:42 of the second period. On the play, Acadia (2-4-1) tried to clear the puck from their zone, but Pilon nabbed the puck from the air and placed a beautiful backhand shot by goaltender Conor McCollum for the power play goal. 

Defense and goaltending continued to shine throughout the second period and most of the third before UPEI delivered the final blow. After taking a big check with four minutes left to play, Stepien stayed in the play and got the puck back along the side of the net, where he roofed a shot over the goalie’s shoulder to make it 2-0. 

As McCollum tried to skate to the bench for the six-on-five opportunity, the Axemen turned the puck over in the neutral zone, where Shea gathered it and skipped a shot in the open cage for the 3-0 win. 

“Our team has been in tune with being prepared and ready to go for each game,” Pilon said. “When we’re playing our game, no one can really play with us.” 

The Panthers’ next test comes Friday night when they take on the visiting UNB Reds, while the Axemen return home where they’ll welcome the Dalhousie Tigers.