Source: Thomas Becker, UPEI Athletics
It took a period and half to finally break through as the relentless Panthers defeated the Dalhousie Tigers 1-0 in a grind-it-out affair Saturday night.
Rookie R.T. Rice provided the heroics, scoring his second goal of the season at the 12:57 mark of the second period.
UPEI's competitiveness couldn't be matched, as the road-weary Tigers struggled to sustain any offensive rhythm. Corbin Boes' 48 saves on 49 attempts kept Dalhousie afloat, but ultimately wasn't enough.
The Panthers brought a lot of energy to the ice, but struggled to capitalize on their opportunities early in the first. Despite three power plays and 19 shots launched at Boes, the goaltender was sharp in net, swatting away the barrage of shots. Boes faced 49 shots in the game.
After the Panthers turned the puck over in their own zone in the final minute of the period, the Tigers almost pulled ahead. But their shot attempt grazed the post, keeping the game scoreless.
The Panthers continued to fire shots in the second, but again Boes was able to shut the door – until 12:57, when the Panthers finally broke the stalemate. After winning a faceoff in Dalhousie territory, Rice scored the go-ahead goal for the 1-0 edge.
"It's no secret Dalhousie has a good goalie, probably best in the league, so it was critical that we got that goal first," MacPherson said.
As Dalhousie's energy increased, so did their scoring opportunities. Midway through the third period, the Tigers had a chance at an equalizer during a 4-on-3, but when faced with shots, Matt Mahalak came up big and preserved the shutout for the Panthers.
The Panthers are at it again on November when they take on the Saint Mary's Huskies. The Tigers host Moncton at home Wednesday, November 2 at the Halifax Forum. Boith games are at 7pm.