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Penalties end three-game win streak

By Dylan MatthiasStaff Contributor

It was another SMU-Dalhousie match-up and for the second time in three weeks, the Huskies walked away with an easy two points. But they did it without Mike Danton, who has been the centre of media attention over the past week. Danton did make a cameo, appearing in the stands during the warm-up.
The Tigers started bright and early, scoring just over a minute into the game after Francois Gauthier won a puck battle down low and centred it to Benjamin Breault, who flipped home his sixth goal in four games. That was about all Tigers fans had to cheer about on Saturday. They were out-shot 47-38.
The Huskies came back, and did so quickly, scoring four and a half minutes later on the power play. It only took six seconds after Ben Van Lare went off for Marc Rancourt to make a superb cross-ice pass to Cam Fergus, who scored past a helpless Josh Disher.
It was a big night for Fergus. He scored again, less than a minute after his first, tipping an Andrew Hotham shot past a screened Disher. Again, a Tiger was in the box, with Daniel Bartek serving a 10-minute misconduct for a headshot.
“You gotta be smarter when you’re playing guys like that,” said Bartek. “They’re the best in the country and you gotta respect that.” Bartek, a former Czech national junior team member and 2009 try-out prospect for the New York Rangers, said that the standard of refereeing is tougher than he’s used to. “The referees call everything here … it’s a different style for sure.”
This time the SMU goal took seven seconds. Fergus nearly had the hat trick shortly after that, missing an open net before Disher robbed him. Disher, a third-year management student, made a stunning 121 saves in his past three starts, the backup anchoring his team’s playoff drive.
Dalhousie had their ace card, Breault, ready to go shift after shift. And he was dangerous. Late in the first, Ron Kelly broke his stick and Breault jumped on. Immediately, he stole the puck and embarrassed Hotham before skating in alone only to be denied by Neil Conway in the SMU goal. He drew a penalty for his efforts, though. Breualt’s efforts were in vain, though, as the Huskies doubled their lead fifteen seconds later as Disher gave up a juicy rebound on a Justin Munden shot, allowing Colby Pridham to sweep it home. Breault was recruited to Dalhousie in November from the ECHL’s Florida Everglades. The Tigers have won four of Breault’s seven games since joining the team. The first-year Arts student has six goals and three assists as a Tiger.
The second period didn’t seem to be any better. Jacob Johnston got beaten very easily at his own blue line nearly four minutes into the second period. He was far too soft on the puck, allowing Andrew White to skate in and beat Disher. Disher was replaced by Bobby Nadeau after the goal. Tigers coach Pete Belliveau put the switch down to fatigue for Disher, who had played the last three games.
Colby Pridham set-up the next SMU goal, dodging a big-time hit at 13:37 of the second before flinging the puck toward the goal. Nadeau gave enough of a rebound that Kyle Doucet was able to stuff it home.
The Huskies sixth was Fergus’ hat trick marker, receiving a stretch pass from Cody Thronton and beating Nadeau glove side to make it 6-1. Kewin scored for the Tigers, collecting a rebound, but this was quickly cancelled out by another goal from Fergus, his 14th of the year. SMU’s leading scorer (he has 34) took a nice drop pass on a three-on-two and beat Nadeau. The Tigers got a goal for pride with 17 seconds left, as Conway missed a 55-foot wrist shot from Devin Stonehouse.
Belliveau was upset after the game, criticising media for focussing too heavily on the loss.
“Right now, I’m just focussing on next weekend.”
The Tige rs had played three games in four nights.
“Right now we’re battling for a playoff spot … our biggest weekend is next weekend; we’re ready to go.”
Belliveau was brought in to the program last year to end Dalhousie hockey’s seven-year playoff drought.

The Tigers hold the sixth and final playoff spot in AUS rankings by one point of the St. Thomas Tommies, who they will meet on home ice Friday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.

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