Welsh scores OT winner against Panthers

Welsh scores OT winner against Panthers

(Halifax, NS) — In a rare Tuesday night AUS men's hockey matchup, the Saint Mary's Huskies hosted the UPEI Panthers at the Dauphinee Centre in Halifax.  

A back and forth match saw the Huskies playing catch up, but they managed to force the game to overtime and win by a score of 5-4.  

Two penalties in the opening minute set the tone for an emotional game. UPEI started strong, with Kyle Maksimovich (Oakville, ON) hitting the post on two nearly identical shots from the point. Catching the Huskies being complacent, the Panthers created several odd man rushes, but weren't able to capitalize on those opportunities. 

Face offs were lopsided in the first period, with the Huskies winning 20 of 33. However, with seven minutes to go, the Panthers cleanly won the draw back in the Huskies' zone and Troy Lajeunesse (Tisdale, SK) threaded a low shot past goalie Eric Brassard (St. Hubert, QC) for the game's first goal. 

Late in the period, the Huskies responded. With lots of open ice, Nicholas Welsh (Halifax, ON) took advantage of a poor line change by the Panthers and jumped up on the rush. He fed Mitchell Balmas, who put a low shot past goalie Simon Hofley (Ottawa, ON).  

The first period ended in a 1-1 tie, and the teams continued to go back and forth on the scoreboard.  

Early in the second, Filip Rydström (Stockholm SWE) scored a power play goal to put the Panthers up 2-1. 

With five minutes to go, the Huskies' Joel Bishop (St. John's, NL) had possession behind the UPEI net and he made a pass out to Noah Zilbert (Fredericton, NB) for a quick one timer in close, evening the score once again. 

Then with under a minute of play, UPEI took the lead again: Rydström got his second goal of the game, putting home a rebound off of a shot from Owen Headrick (Garden River, ON). 

Heading into the third period, they led the Huskies 3-2.  

UPEI extended that lead halfway through the final frame, taking advantage of a two on one rush. Brassard stopped two shots from Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, NY), but Riley Whittingham (Calgary, AB) got past him with a third attempt. 

Saint Mary's responded the very next play, as Jonathan Hampton (Richmond Hill, ON) brought the Huskies within one. Mark Trickett (Baddeck, NS) and Stephen Johnson (Moncton, NB) assisted on the play. 

Then with five minutes to go, Dawson Theede (Brooklin, ON) snagged a rebound and put it top shelf over a sprawling Hofley to tie the game 4-4.  

It would stay that way for the remaining minutes, sending the game to overtime. With the momentum from their last two goals, the Huskies scored. Nicholas Welsh got the overtime winner and the Subway Player of the Game. 

Both teams play next on November 8, with the Huskies travelling to take on the UNB Reds and the Panthers hosting the St FX X-Men. Both games start at 7 p.m. 

Sarah Moore, SMU 

Photo Nick Pearce