By Thomas Becker
It wasn't the prettiest win, but the UPEI Panthers will take it nonetheless.
Led by Taylor Gillis' breakaway goal six minutes into the third, the Panthers escaped with a 1-0 victory over the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues despite being outshot 18-14.
Admittedly, it wasn't the strongest effort from Bruce Donaldson's team, especially after coming off one of their best performances of the year last Sunday, when they handed a tough UNB squad a 5-0 loss.
"I wasn't happy. We looked very average in terms of our effort and execution," Donaldson said. "Once we got the goal, I thought we were a bit stronger."
One of the bright spots was goaltender Shaylin McFarlane, who recorded her first AUS shutout after turning aside all 18 shots she faced.
"It feels pretty good to get a shutout in a close game. It was exciting," McFarlane said.
Life as a backup goalie has its challenges, but McFarlane is taking each start in stride and continues to learn from one of the best in Camille Scherger, who missed the game due to injury.
"I look up to Schugs a lot because she has a lot of experience and she's really talented," McFarlane said. "It's big steps to fill, but it's exciting to get the opportunity."
UPEI's potent offence was held in check for most of the game, as Moncton (2-8-1) did a good job of forcing their opponent to take shots from the outside. The Panthers (9-2) defence did their part as well, especially the penalty kill unit that kept the Aigles Bleues to a 0-of-5 night with the man-advantage.
Gillis finally broke the deadlock at 6:10 of the third period, when she stole the puck in her own zone and raced down the ice before sliding the backhand past keeper Melodie Arsenault.
"I got a lucky bounce there. I kicked it out of our end and saw the open ice, so I took it and beat the goalie," said Gillis, who was named the Subway Player of the Game.
The Panthers look to extend their win streak to four games when they welcome the St. FX X-Women to MacLauchlan Arena on Nov. 10 at 3 p.m.
"We have to come out strong at the start of the game and not just the third period," Gillis said of tomorrow's tough matchup. "We just have to refocus and start over tomorrow."
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan