By Thomas Becker
A scoring barrage in the second period lifted the UPEI Panthers to a 4-0 win over the Dalhousie Tigers Friday night.
Faith Steeves scored the game's opening goal early in the second, which opened the floodgates. Jenna Pellerin and Sydney Lyndon also scored in the period before Steeves closed out the lopsided victory in the final stanza with her second of the contest.
"Our speed has been a big factor for us this year," said Steeves, who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "When we're moving our feet and forechecking, we're pretty good. If we keep doing that and continue to buy into the system, hopefully we'll continue to have success."
The Panthers (3-0) showed the ability to get pucks on the net in the opening period as they outshot the Tigers (0-3) 14-3, but they couldn't solve Petricca Fabiana, who finished with 30 saves before getting lifted early in the third period.
Steeves had three of those shots before connecting on her fourth at 1:33, when she skated in from the neutral zone, slid the puck through the legs of the last defender and roofed it in for the beautiful goal.
"Our main focus is figuring out how the goalie plays and once we figure that out we adjust our shot high or low," Steeves said.
Less than four minutes later, Pellerin found Fabiana's weakness once again. On a two-on-one rush, the fourth-year forward took it in alone and fired it in the top right corner to extend UPEI's lead 2-0.
The home team closed out the second-period ambush at 14:22, when Lyndon took advantage of a blocked shot that ricocheted to her at the point, where she slapped it home for her first AUS goal.
From a year ago to today, the offence has taken major strides and Panthers head coach Bruce Donaldson likes what he sees so far.
"We're moving the puck and skating with much better pace," he said. "We're coming in and we're attacking hard and goalies are trying to figure out if we're passing or shooting."
Steeves showed off her shooting precision five minutes into the third, when she forced a turnover, skated in from the left wing and tucked it in the far corner, as the Panthers came away with 4-0 win.
UPEI's defence continued to shine and only allowed 14 shots on net, which Camille Scherger easily turned aside. The third-year netmnder's biggest challenge was contending against a five-on-three midway through the second, but she managed her way through it to keep her shutout streak alive at three games.
"The back check was very impressive today," Donaldson said. "Defensively, we kept them at bay and a lot of their shots were from a distance."
The Panthers now turn their attention to a tough Saint Mary's squad, who'll they'll face in Halifax on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.
"We have to remember who we're playing tomorrow. It's going to be a tough game, so the mental piece is very important for us," Steeves said. "I think if we go into the game positive and with our heads on straight, I think we'll find success."
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan