(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Reds built a 3-0 lead and then hung on for a 3-2 win over the UPEI Panthers in game one of their Subway Atlantic University Sport quarter-final series.
The Reds now lead the best of three series 1-0.
Paige Grenier (Olds, AB) scored UNB's third goal, on the power-play, at 6:40 of the second period. It stood as the game-winning goal.
"It feels great to get that monkey off my back and pot another one," said Grenier, who scored just once during the regular season. "The fact it turned out to be the game-winning goal is just a bonus on top of that."
Grenier was named the Subway Player of the Game.
The Reds opened the scoring at 10:17 of the first period.
A point shot by Hannah Green (Richmond, BC) hit Lily George (Garden Village, ON) in front of the UPEI net and bounced up and over Panthers netminder Camile Scherger (Lloydminster, AB).
"All I saw was Greener take a shot from the point and I was just trying to get out of the way, it was coming at my head. It ended up hitting my arm. I didn't know how it bounced in, but it found its way to the net," said George.
Ashley Stratton (Mount Pearl, NL) added to UNB's lead at 4:12 of the second period, before Grenier's goal about two-and-a-half minutes later.
Down 3-0, the Panthers roared to life in the third period.
Jolena Gillard (Deer Lake, NL) gave the visitors life at 4:18 when she scored a power-play goal.
She managed to shovel the puck past a sprawling Kendra Woodland (Kamloops, BC) during a goal-mouth scramble.
At 9:16, Katelynn Nice (Saint John, NB) pulled the Panthers to within one, another power-play goal for UPEI. Her shot from the blue-line found its way through a crowd in front of Woodland.
"We dug a hole for ourselves in the first and second periods, letting them get up 3-0," said Gillard. "That kind of killed us a bit, but in the third we got two in ten minutes so it gave us some confidence. If we play like this on Sunday, we'll be coming back here on Tuesday."
With the Panthers surging, the Reds responded.
They clamped down over the final half of the third period to hold on for the win.
"It got a little scary there towards the end, I guess we decided to make it interesting," said Grenier. "After they got that second goal, we kind of stepped it up. It was that wake-up call that we needed. I thought the last five minutes, we were pretty solid. We kept them away from our home plate and that's what you need to do in tight games."
The series now shifts to UPEI for game two, Sunday at 2:00pm.
"It's not the outcome we wanted, but when we go home, we'll practice and regroup and we'll look to take the 'W' on Sunday," said Gillard.
Thursday's win is the first AUS playoff win for UNB since February 24, 2006, when they beat Mount Allison 4-0.
If necessary, game three of the series will be played in Fredericton, on Tuesday, at 7:00pm.
Recap courtesy of Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
Photos courtesy of James West/for UNB Athletics