Panthers shutout Acadia 2-0

Paputsakis makes 27 saves in Axemen loss

By Thomas Becker/ UPEI Athletics

The Panthers (9-4-0) are playing some of their best hockey in recent memory and are amidst a torrid stretch, having won eight of their last nine games, including Wednesday night’s 2-0 victory over the Acadia Axemen. 

Drake Pilon got the team going early in the game, scoring his fifth goal of the season, while captain Troy Lajeunesse added the dagger late—his team-leading ninth of the campaign. 

They showed off chemistry on a power play at 4:45 of the first period when Pilon took a pass from Kurtis Henry in the right circle, where the third-year forward sniped a shot in the top right corner for the game’s opening goal. 

Another reason for the team’s success is their defensive schemes and simply staying out of the penalty box. At full strength, the Panthers are tough to score against (allowed just 24 goals at full strength), and they showed it again against Acadia. 

“Right now, we’re one of the most disciplined teams in the league,” said Panthers head coach Forbes MacPherson. “If you give up three or four more power play opportunities, eventually it will come back to haunt you.” 

UPEI limited the Axemen to just 19 shots and held them scoreless on three power play chances. Lucas Fitzpatrick got the nod between the pipes again after recording his first AUS win last Saturday, and the sophomore netminder didn’t disappoint as he registered his second straight shutout. 

After a scoreless second period, the Panthers kept the pressure on the Axemen in the offensive zone and eventually added the dagger, courtesy of Lajeunesse. On the play, TJ Shea gathered the puck along the end boards and passed it in front to Lajeunesse, who beat goaltender Zachary Paputsakis with the one-time to seal the 2-0 win. 

UPEI looks to capture their fifth straight win this Friday when they host the Saint Mary’s Huskies at Eastlink Centre, while the Axemen aim to end their five-game skid against the Huskies Saturday night.