Dalhousie’s crusade to steamroll their opponents took a crucial step in that direction last Saturday when the defending champion Tigers won their season opener and title rematch with ease.
With memories of last fall’s lopsided 13-4 title triumph still fresh in their minds, Dal’s lacrosse team began their championship defence with a 11-6 victory against the St. Francis Xavier X-Men, the same squad that watched the Tigers hoist the league trophy a year ago.
The game marks Dal’s seventh consecutive win, accounting for regular season and playoff matches.
Tigers rookie Wes Gardner led the offensive charge early on, scoring his team’s three opening markers and adding an additional tally in the fourth quarter. He said his scoring proficiency came as a pleasant surprise.
“They had me on the first line so I knew I’d play all right here, and I was comfortable playing here, but I wasn’t really expecting four goals,” says Gardner.
“I’m happy with that; it’s an added bonus.”
Gardner’s teammates picked up the scoring slack in the second quarter. The four unanswered goals gave the Tigers a 7-1 edge entering halftime.
In the third quarter, St. FX began to claw back, pulling the deficit within four goals at one point before the Tigers recovered. Dal head coach Glenn Dunbar said his charges let up.
“They lost a sense of what we have to do from point A to point B,” he says. “They made some mental mistakes and those mental mistakes turned into physical mistakes and then goals.”
Jamie Dunbar also had four goals for the Tigers. Single scores were tallied by Stephen Fyfe, David Gagnier and Duane Davis.
Although Dunbar says his group is taking this season one game at a time, he does not deny that for this year’s Tigers it’s championship or bust.
“Anything less than that will be, as far as I’m concerned, a failure.”
The Tigers next play on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Wickwire Field against Mount Allison University. Game time is 6 p.m.