CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - The UPEI Panthers renewed their rivalry with the Acadia Axemen on Friday night and in the middle of all the action was Kameron Kielly, who recorded a goal and an assist in a hard-fought 2-1 win.
UPEI got off to a slow start, but picked up the pace late in the first period and challenged Logan Flodell, who got the nod in net for the visiting Axemen. With five minutes remaining, Flodell denied an odd-man rush with a sliding save to keep the game scoreless.
Two minutes later, Jordy Stallard's shot from an unlikely angle trickled through Simon Hofley's skates and through the crease where Kyle Farrell tapped in the opening goal for the Axemen. That was Hofley's lone blemish, as he made 33 saves on the night.
Flodell continued his stellar play in the final minutes of the period, when he made a series of big saves from close range to help his team maintain the 1-0 advantage after 20 minutes.
The Christmas break didn't slow down Cody Payne any, as he ripped a shot from the right circle just 20 seconds into the second, which squared things up at one apiece.
With a little over four minutes remaining, Kielly fired the puck from the corner of the ice and somehow found it's way past Flodell for the go-ahead goal and a 2-1 edge.
That's all the Panthers needed, as their defence and Hofley's calming presence between the pipes closed the door in the final period to earn their first win of the New Year.
The Panthers face another tough test when they welcome the Saint Mary's Huskies Jan. 5 for a 7 p.m. showdown, while the Axemen head to the U SPORTS No. 1 ranked UNB Reds on Saturday to cap off a two game road trip.
By Thomas Becker, UPEI Communications