Panthers topple Moncton 2-0 for perfect homestand

Panthers topple Moncton 2-0 for perfect homestand

By Thomas Becker 

For the first time since 2016, the UPEI Panthers earned a perfect six-point weekend.

After taking down the Memorial Sea-Hawks yesterday afternoon, the Panthers (3-3) came back Sunday and did the same to the Moncton Aigles Bleus (1-2-1). 

Forwards Mohammad Jaber and Cohen Reddick-Stevens fueled the offence in the 2-0 win. 

"We got the six points that we needed and we set ourselves up well for the second half of the season," Reddick-Stevens said.

UPEI dominated the first half and consistently put pressure on the opponent. On the defensive end they didn't give Moncton much space to operate, while offensively they got whatever they wanted.

The Panthers couldn't solve Andre LeBlanc early, but eventually got to the keeper in the 28th minute. Reddick-Stevens cut toward the middle and with a perfect pass he guided Jaber to the centre of the box where the striker tapped it home for the 1-0 lead.

Just six minutes later, Lars Schmidt's hustle led to UPEI's second goal. The product of Germany battled for the ball and travelled half the field before centering a pass to Jaber, who fired it off the keeper before Reddick-Stevens put away the rebound. 

"Last year we had a bad game against them and we wanted to get back at them," said Reddick-Stevens, who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "We knew if we went at them and played our game we could expose them and that's what we did."

A scary incident happened in the 73rd minute when Panther goalkeeper Brett Strba took a knee to the head. After he was down for a bit, he was helped off the field and because backup keeper Evan Couturier is also hurt, Reddick-Stevens got the nod. Prior to the game, he joked about offering to play in net should something happen.

"I played a few games there in the summer and I didn't mind doing it," he said. "The back line did well and I didn't face a shot, so I was just there yelling at everyone."

While head coach Lewis Page is understandably concerned about his goaltending situation, he was still thrilled with the way his team performed over the weekend and the six points they earned.

"It feels great. The guys set that as a goal for themselves at the beginning of the week and I'm really proud of them for achieving it."

The Panthers now turn their attention to the Mount Allison Mounties, who they'll face on Sept. 27 at 7:15 p.m.

"It's about daily habits. We have to be good every day and we have to make a choice to do our best every time we step on the field," Page said.

Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan