The chances that Dalhousie men’s hockey team could win against a red-hot Saint Mary’s squad was over before they ever really began. Two quick goals by the Huskies’ Ryan Hillier and Chris MacKinnon three minutes into the first period was a good indicator of what was to come on Nov. 7.
The 7-4 loss at the Halifax Forum, as well as a narrow 5-4 overtime defeat two days later versus St. Francis Xavier, pushes Dal to a 3-5-2 record.
“If I could write a book on starting flat-footed, that would be it,” says Dal forward Benjamin Breault, who had a goal and assist against the Huskies.
“We just weren’t ready, you could see it from the first two shifts. It’s hard to start a game with a deficit but that doesn’t matter because we did a poor job responding. They kept coming hard, got us at the right time. By the time we started to fix our mistakes, 40 minutes were gone.”
Before the first period ended, Dal head coach Chris Donnelly decided to pull goalie Wendell Vye. With the Tigers’ starting goalie Bobby Nadeau out because of a groin injury, Russ Brownell made his first appearance of the season in net.
Nadeau was originally expected to return within a week or two after he suffered his injury Oct. 26. The reoccurring groin injury seems to have intensified over the last couple years.
“I don’t really know the situation. He was out the previous season for a pretty long time with the same kind of injury so I hope he’ll be back soon because he’s definitely our number one goaltender,” says Breault. “The injuries never happened to him before he joined Dal so it’s a tough adjustment.”
The Tigers recovered in the third period, scoring three unanswered goals to salvage their night a little, reducing SMU’s lead to the final 7-4 score. Breault hopes the Tigers can keep that late momentum going for their next three games on the road.
“We didn’t give up despite it being 7-1 after two,” he says. “We came in and won the third period. That’s something that we need to build on.”
The Tigers will be the visitors this weekend, facing off against UNB on Nov. 16 and UPEI the next night.