The underdog story came full circle for the fourth seeded UPEI Panthers, who completed their storybook run to the finals with a 3-0 shutout win the AUS Women’s Hockey finals.
Christina Kelly had a pair of goals, while Kristy Dobson continued her fantastic run in net and shutout the highly-touted Mount Allison offence.
Despite a barrage of shots early on from the Mounties, it was the UPEI Panthers who took an early advantage when Kelly broke free from the defender and snapped her own rebound past AUS All-Star Meghan Corley-Byrne.
Late in the first period the Panthers found themselves in penalty trouble, with Ferran Brown heading off for a checking call and a too many players on the ice bench minor being assessed, giving the struggling Mounties a 5 on 3 advantage.
Dobson stole the spotlight on the penalty kill, diving to stop an Ashlyn Somers shot, while her penalty killing unit blocked the passing lanes and helped kill off the decisive advantage.
Early in the second period the Panthers doubled their lead, Kelsey O’Donnell beat Corley Byrne with a shot that beat the Mounties goalie through a sea of traffic in front.
Instead of sitting back and defending their lead, much like their game against St. FX the night before, the Panthers stayed on the attack and used an effective fore-checking game to pin the Mounties in their own end.
Kelly would ice the game in the final moments, scoring into the empty net for her second of the night and giving her Panthers a 3-0 win and a berth at the
CIS Championship in Alberta.
An unlikely outcome at the beginning of the tournament, the Panthers allowed a tournament low 3 goals and were able to rely on strong defensive play to craft their path to the title.
Tournament All-Star Team
F – Christina Kelly (UPEI)
F – Molly MacDonald (StFX)
F – Katelyn Morton (MTA)
D – Genevieve David (UdeM)
D – Emily Van Diepen (MTA
G – Kristy Dobson
MVP – Kristy Dobson
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The Panthers will now head to Nationals, where they will join Alberta (Hosts), Calgary (CANWEST), Laurier (OUA), Montreal (RSEQ Finalist) and McGill (RSEQ Winner), and will one again be the underdogs as the only team to not be nationally ranked.
The Martlets is coming off their third national title in four years, while Laurier celebrated their eighth OUA title out of the last nine and the celebrate Alberta program will look to their record six national tiles for confidence, while you need to look no further than Hayley Wickenheiser to know that Calgary are a serious contender.
Pool A will consist of 1 Laurier, 4 UPEI and 6 Montreal, while Pool B will consist of 2 McGill, 3 Calgary and 5 Alberta. The tournament opens up March 8th, with Laurier playing Montreal and Calgary playing McGill.
UPEI will open their tournament playing the winner of game one, then following up with the loser of game one on the 10th.
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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.