(Halifax, NS) The Saint Mary's Huskies rallied in the third to top the UPEI Panthers 5-4 in their Saturday night matchup at the Halifax Forum.
The Huskies (13-4-1) solidified their hold on third in the AUS heading into the winter break. They finish the first semester slate of the schedule by going 9-1 over their last 10 games.
The Panthers (4-13-1), who were forced to play with only 13-skaters, sit fifth in the standings.
It was a balanced attack for the Huskies with Bronson Beaton (Springhill, N.S.), Stephen Shipley (Ilderton, Ont.), Bradley Latour (Barrie, Ont.), Thomas Stavert (Kensington, P.E.I.) and Calder Brooks (Emerald Park, Sask.) all scoring.
Brooks netted the winner and added two-assists for a three-point night.
Cole Cheveldave (Calgary, Alta.) made 31 saves to pick up the win.
Kameron Kielly (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) scored twice for the Panthers, with Filip Rydstrom (Stockholme, Swe.) and Cody Payne (Davie, Fla.) each adding one.
Connor Wilkinson (Ajax, Ont.) made 28 saves for UPEI.
Rydstrom got things started for UPEI at the 13:31 mark of the first. Sam Aulie (Lumsden, Sask.) flew up the left-wing on a two-on-one with Rydstrom. Aulie feathered a pass across the high-slot and Rydstrom caught - held for a moment – and sent his shot home five-hole.
Beaton even things up at 1-1 just over three-minutes later. Brooks pushed it up to Coughler to spring the Huskies on a three-on-one. Coughler carried up the right-wing, Austyn Hardie (Montreal, Que.) charged to the back post and Beaton became the trailer. Coughler looked off Hardie and dropped it to Beaton who scored five-hole.
Kielly notched his first, to make it 2-1 Panthers, with just 31-seconds left in the frame. Ryan MacKinnon (Summerside, P.E.I.) pulled the puck out of a scramble in front of the Panthers net, fed it to Brent Andrews (Hunter River, P.E.I.) on the left-wing and Andrews got it to Kielly in the neutral-zone. Kielly carried into the Huskies-zone and through the left-circle where he eluded a stick check and rifled a backhander top-shelf glove-side from the bottom of the circle.
Kielly pushed the Panthers lead to 3-1 just over-three-minutes into the second. Beni Berisha (Mississauga, Ont.) stole the puck at his own blue-line and fed it up to Kielly on the left-wing. Kielly cut to the centre, split the Huskies D, fought off a would be hooking-call and slipped it in five-hole from in tight.
Shipley pulled the Huskies back within one with a power-play goal 9:19 into the second. Hunter Garlent (Thorold, Ont.) sent it back to Brooks on the right-point. Brooks teed-up Coughler for a one-timer from the top of the left-circle and Shipley tipped it home from the doorstep.
Latour tied things up at 3-3 a few minutes into the third. SMU got the cycle game going down-low in the UPEI-zone. Stephen Johnson (Moncton, N.B.), battling behind the net, slipped it to Latour to the left of the net and he shot it home short-side.
Stavert gave SMU its first lead 52-seconds later. Shipley stopped a UPEI clearing attempt at the UPEI blue-line and tapped it to Noah Zilbert (Fredericton, N.B.) who walked into the high-slot and fired a wrister. Wilkinson made a right-shoulder save and Stavert swatted the rebound out of the air into the open cage.
Payne made it 4-4 at 12:51 of the final frame. Riley Whittingha (Calgary, Atla.) poked it to Rydstrom just inside the SMU blue-line. Rydstrom worked wide left and fired a pass, looking for a redirection from Whittingha crashing the net, that ricocheted across to Payne who sent it five-hole from the low right-circle.
Brooks lit the lamp for the final time at 16:31. The Huskies had the puck in the UPEI-zone, Garlent pushed it back to Michael Curtis (Georgetown, Ont.) on the right-point. He walked the line and sent it on goal where Brooks, battling for position in front, tipped it in low-blocker.
Shots were 35-32 for UPEI.
Up next, the Panthers return from the winter break to host the StFX X-Men on Friday, January 5. The Huskies will be on the road to face the UdeM Aigles Bleu on Wednesday, January 3.
Photo Nick Pearce