For the Dalhousie men’s hockey team, ending their weekend at the Halifax Forum with a 4-2 loss against powerhouse UNB on Oct. 28 did not seem so bad. After all, the night before against UPEI they had earned their first back-to-back wins since Jan. 14.
Against the Panthers last Friday, a strong offensive effort topped off by great defence secured their second consecutive victory.
“It was nice to string together a second win,” said Dal defensemen Brett Plouffe. “We were close for a couple games, though we kind of fell apart at the end. Two wins are always better than one.”
That first triumph was a 5-2 thrashing of St. Thomas on Oct. 20.
With five minutes left in the first period in their 3-0 win against the Panthers, starting goalie Bobby Nadeau suffered a groin injury in a scramble in front of the net. His replacement, Wendell Vye, wasted no time in making a difference.
“I don’t mind coming in,” said Vye, who backstopped the Tigers for a majority of the team’s games last season because of the starter’s injury woes. “I used to do it a lot playing junior hockey when I was younger. I like the challenge.”
Nadeau is expected to return from his aggravated injury within this week or next.
The Tigers also played well against the Varsity Reds. The game was tied at one going into the third, but the team crumbled late, giving up three unanswered goals to result in a 4-2 defeat.
Signs of improvement are clearly present as the Tigers move forward. Effective play by special teams has shown results.
“We get in the lanes, guys really work hard on the kill and we are getting pucks out when we get the chance. That’s all it comes down to,” said Vye.
Plouffe thinks the team is playing much better defensively.
“A lot of it had to do with play on our own end,” said Plouffe. “We were pretty solid and even when they got the odd chance, we shut them down pretty well, limited their chances, which really played to our advantage.”
For a team that has struggled to accomplish much in the last few years, little yet important details might make all the difference.
The Tigers host league-leading Moncton on Nov. 2 and then will battle St. Thomas and their winless record the next evening. Both games are at the Halifax Metro Centre at 7 p.m.