Panthers' special teams help tie the series with win over UNB.

Panthers' special teams help tie the series with win over UNB.
As Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall put it: "Now we have a series."

The University of Prince Edward Island Panthers tied their Subway semi-final series with the University of New Brunswick Friday night at the Aitken Centre, beating the V-Reds 4-2 on the road at the Aitken Centre.

All of UPEI's goals came on special teams, two were shorthanded, while the Panthers have now tallied four power play goals in the series.

"Ultimately we worked hard, we finished our hits, and we got more shots at their goalie," said Panthers' head coach Forbes MacPherson on the win. "We were above and beyond our commitment to our 5-on-5 play, and special teams was the difference."

Matt Maione, Jordan Knox, Cole MacMillan, and Mike MacIsaac each scored in the win, while MacPherson elected to start Mavric Parks, who stopped 18 shots for his first win since the opening game of the regular season on Oct. 12th.

MacPherson said he was "up all night thinking about [whether to start Parks]," and Parks said he was told the morning of the game.

"I guess you could say I was surprised [I started]," said Parks. "Wayne's had an unbelievable second half and last game wasn't at all his fault."

The V-Reds' Colby Pridham opened the scoring for UNB early on, redirecting a Nick MacNeil shot through traffic.
But UPEI capitalized at the end of a Ben Wright tripping penalty, with Maione going end-to-end, and wristing a shot bar-down over V-Reds goalie Dan LaCosta's shoulder.

Twenty-eight seconds into the second period, and with UNB on a power play, Chris Culligan turned the puck over to Chris Desousa, who then sprung Jordan Knox on a short breakaway who netted his first of the playoffs, giving UPEI their first lead of the series.

MacMillan gave the Panthers a two-goal lead later on burying his own rebound, off the end-boards, and flipping the puck top-shelf on a defenceless LaCosta.

Cam Critchlow made it a one-goal game midway through the period with help from Bryce Swan and Cam Braes, and it stayed that way until the final minute when Mike MacIsaac buried the insurance goal after LaCosta charged out of the net to play a loose puck.

"I thought we started the game pretty good, and usually we get better as the game goes on, but tonight we didn't," said MacDougall on the loss which snapped a nine-game winning streak. "Usually we're a third-period hockey club and we pride ourselves on the third. The secret to success in this league is when how you respond to adversity. And now we have an opportunity to respond."

The loss is UNB's first at home since Nov. 3rd, and first loss at home in an AUS playoff game since Mar. 12th, 2011 when they fell 2-1 in double-overtime to St. FX in the AUS finals.

The series now shifts to Charlottetown, PEI, where it's a best-of-three with PEI having the next two games at home on Monday, Feb. 25th, and Tuesday Feb 26th. Both games are 7 p.m. starts.