CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI — This is shaping up to be a big weekend for the UPEI men’s and women’s hockey teams.
Both teams will host early matchups against first-place UNB Reds teams at MacLauchlan Arena on the UPEI campus in Charlottetown. The men will face off on November 4 and the women’s match on November 5. The opening puck drop is at 7 p.m.
“Our conference has very good parity and there are good teams throughout the conference,” said UPEI women’s team head coach Sean Fisher. “UNB is definitely at the top of the testing list. They are #4 in the country for a reason.
“They are a group of veterans, and that should be a good yardstick for our young group, where we are and what kind of learning has been done in the last two months.”
“Our conference has very high parity and there are good teams throughout the conference. UNB is definitely at the top of the testing list. They are #4 in the country for a reason. –Sean Fisher
Panthers head coach Forbie MacPherson acknowledged a similar situation in the men’s conference, adding that parity this year is off the charts, perhaps even more so than in previous years.
“There are a lot of good teams in our league,” MacPherson said. “UNB is UNB and a perennial powerhouse in our conference and in USPORTS, but that said, no disrespect to any of the other programs.
“Where we are, we think we have to be ready every night, no matter who (our opponent) is. If we don’t give our best game, chances are we won’t be happy with the result.”
“UNB is UNB and a perennial powerhouse in our conference and in USPORTS, but that said, no disrespect to any of the other programs… Where we are, we believe we have to be ready every night, no matter who (our opponent) is. If we don’t give our A game, chances are we won’t be happy with the result. –Forbie MacPherson
The men’s game features the top two teams in the conference. UNB, which is coming off an 8-2 home win over the Moncton Blue Eagles on Nov. 2, has won five straight and outscored opponents 34-7 during that streak.
UNB is 6-2-0-0 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) and is tied with Moncton (6-3-0-0) for first place, but the Reds have played one match less. UNB was ranked third in this week’s USPORTS standings while Moncton was No. 7.
The Panthers (5-3-0-0) have won four straight games, including a 3-0 home win over the Acadia Axemen (2-4-1-0) and a 2-1 decision over the road against the Saint Mary’s Huskies. (5-2-0-0) last weekend. The Panthers wrap up the road weekend schedule against Moncton on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.
“It’s still early in the season,” MacPherson said. “For the most part, we liked the way our group competed and played. We had wins and losses.
“You always want to bank points but, as a manager, sometimes you’re more concerned with how you play. We think we feel good in most cases and there’s still a lot of areas for improvement, but that’s part of the process.
“We are looking to continue to build over the last two weeks.”
In the teams’ only previous meeting this season, the Reds scored twice into an empty net to defeat the Panthers 5-2 in Fredericton, New Brunswick on October 7.
Much of the Panthers’ recent success has been the goalkeeper Jonah Capriotti and a stingy defense, which has allowed five goals in its last four games.
“It’s something we focus on and work on a lot,” MacPherson said, referring to the focus on defensive play. “At the end of the day, a lot also comes down to the person between the posts and Jonah had a big weekend (against Saint Mary’s and Acadia) and made the saves he needed. He was rewarded for all his hard work and we hope to continue the same.
The Panthers (5-3-0-0) meet the No. 2-ranked Reds (7-0-1-0) for the first time in the regular season. Fisher stressed the need for the Panthers to play a full game.
“It can’t be a 35 or 40 minute match; it has to be 60 minutes,” Fisher added.
Although the Panthers shared two home games last weekend, starting with a 4-2 loss to Saint Mary’s (4-4-0-0) on October 28, Fisher took positives from that outing. .
In particular, he felt, a strong third period continued with a 5-1 win the following afternoon over the St. Thomas Tommies (4-4-0-0).
Overall, Fisher, in his first year behind the bench for the Panthers, is enjoying what he’s seen in the regular season so far.
“They were thrown around a lot early on, handled it really well and found a way to win a lot of one-goal games,” Fisher said. “Our goal differential for and against isn’t that pretty (23 goals for and 21 goals conceded), but we were still able to put some points in the bank early on, which is good for a young team that is continuing to learn, grow and develop as a group.
Kensington Panthers forward Lexie Murphy, playing on a line with Summerside’s Taylor Gillis and Charlottetown’s Chloe McCabe, led the offense with five points, including three goals, last weekend.
“That (October 29) line really clicked,” Fisher said. “I thought Taylor Gillis and Chloe McCabe had really solid games and led the team so to speak.
“Lexie is a very good player. She’s a big kid who plays both sides of the puck, plays a good game over 200 feet and is really aware and aware of the importance of leading by example.
“That’s why she’s in the role she’s in (as captain of the team). She’s respected by her teammates and the effort we get from her every day in training translates well. in matches.
The Panthers host the third-place Dalhousie Tigers (5-2-1-0) on Nov. 6 at 3 p.m.
- November 5 – UNB at UPEI, 7 p.m.
- November 6 – Dalhousie at UPEI, 3 p.m.
- November 9 – UPEI at Mount Allison, 7 p.m.
- November 11th – Saint Mary’s at UPEI, 7 p.m.
- November 18 – UPEI at St. Thomas, 7 p.m.
- November 19 – UPEI in Moncton, 2 p.m.
- November 23 – UPEI at UNB, 7 p.m.
- November 26 – UPEI at St. Francis Xavier, 7 p.m.
- November 4 – UNB at UPEI, 7 p.m.
- November 5 – UPEI in Moncton, 7 p.m.
- November 9 – UPEI at St. Francis Xavier, 7 p.m.
- November 12 – Dalhousie at UPEI, 7 p.m.
- November 16 – Acadia at UPEI, 7 p.m.
- November 18 – Saint Mary’s at UPEI, 7 p.m.
- November 25 – UPEI at St. Francis Xavier, 7 p.m.
- November 26 – Dalhousie at UPEI, 7 p.m.
- November 30 – Moncton at UPEI, 7 p.m.
- December 3 – UNB at UPEI, 7 p.m.
Jason Simmonds is a sportswriter at the SaltWire Network in Prince Edward Island. He can be contacted by email at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JpsportsJason.