Down by two goals entering the third period, things looked bleak for the PWHPA All-Stars at TGH Ice Plex in Hub City Tampa. Sure, the PWHPA was generating chances and creating some pressure in the offensive zone, but with only 20 minutes remaining, it was a tall task against a strong goalie.
As it turned out, two goals wasn’t nearly enough of a cushion for the USPHL’s Islanders Hockey Club. The PWHPA pumped home five goals in the third period and came away with an 8-5 victory to move to 1-1-0 in the Hub. Kelly Pannek collected a pass from Abby Roque in the slot at 15:06 of the third period and labelled a shot past Dean Hahn, who entered the game with a 12-1-0 record on the season.
It was Pannek’s first goal of the Hub.
Things started off well for the PWHPA on Thursday. Veteran Gigi Marvin was shifted to defense by Coach Bill Flanagan, and the decision paid dividends almost immediately. Marvin stepped into a shot from the point 3:07 into the game, threading it through traffic and by starter William Nepveu. The goal, assisted by Hannah Brant and Sydney Brodt, was Marvin’s first in the Hub.
The Islanders weren’t fazed. Defenseman Alex Newton gained the offensive zone and carried the puck down the nearside wall. He peeled toward net, and fired a quick shot that fooled PWHPA starter Katie Burt. The goal, scored at 7:27, was part of a seesaw first period.
Amanda Kessel found a loose puck in the slot at 13:49, quickly turning and firing it by Nepveu to give the PWHPA the lead right back. Again, however, IHC had the answer. At 16:46, Nolan Patrick fed the puck to the top of the crease where Jesper Seeberg was stationed. The Florida native collected the puck and put it over Burt to even things at 2-2.
For the first time in Hub City Tampa, the PWHPA went to the powerplay at 17:42 when Matthew Conroy was called for tripping. The powerplay went to work, and immediately struck gold. Hannah Brandt fired the puck on goal from an angle that snuck by Nepveu at 18:15 to end a wild opening period.
If the PWHPA won the first period, the Islanders won the second. Johnny Hurd rushed into the offensive zone and beat Burt just 13 seconds in to even things at 3-3. Matt Young would blast a shot home from the high-slot at 6:08, then Matt Cramer would deposit a cross-ice pass at 15:25 to give the Islanders a 5-3 lead and, it seemed, all of the momentum.
Then the bounces finally started going the PWHPA’s way. The flow of play started going their way too. It was a perfect storm that simply overwhelmed the Islanders.
Abby Roque got the party started just 42 seconds into the period when a puck bounced right to her at the side of the Islander goal. Roque had plenty of room as Hahn, who played the second half of the exhibition, wasn’t expecting the bounce.
In hindsight, it was all over there.
Hannah Brandt drove off the nearside wall and towards the Islander net, but ran out of room and was left with no room. Brandt’s lone choice was to shot the puck and hope for a rebound. She put it on net but got a better than imaginable result at the puck squeaked through Hahn to even things at 5-5 at 2:37.
Pannek’s one-timer from the slot put the PWHPA ahead 6-5, while Haley Skarupa and Sophia Shave (ENG) added insurance markers to cement the 8-5 victory.
The PWHPA will skate on Friday morning at 8:00 am at AdventHealth Center Ice for practice. They will return to game action on Saturday, February 13th when they take on the Jersey Hitmen at 11:30 am on HockeyTV. The game is free to view for all viewers!