Arfa Ayub, Staff Contributor
Dalhousie Tigers head coach Pete Belliveau called it the best game he has seen the Tiger’s men’s hockey team play in three years. Rookie forward Pierre Alexander Vandall had two goals as the Tigers defeated the country’s top ranked AUS team, UNB, 6 – 3.
“I think the boys came out strong, our game preparation was really good and we battled the whole game against probably one of the best teams in the country,” said starting goalie Bobby Nadeau.
Dal’s Vandall opened the scoring in the first period to give the Tigers an early 1 – 0 lead just 4:05 into the first. The first goal came after UNB defenceman Jonathan Harty tripped in the neutral zone, which allowed Dal forward Jacob Johnston to skate into the attacking zone. Johnston made a textbook pass to Vandall who was standing right in front of the crease and shot it high glove side past UNB’s starting goalie Derek Yeomans.
“It was a real team effort,” said rookie forward Brad McConnell. “I mean Bobby stayed in there when we needed him but we kept most of the shots to the outside and everyone played hard. It was just a solid effort by the team forwards and everyone else.”
McConnell, who has been outstanding for the Tigers, said that he is happy with his season thus far.
“I just work hard in practice and try to learn things from the older guys,” he said. “It just seems that things are going in right now and kudos to my line-mates. They are doing a great job.”
Kyle Bailey replied for UNB midway through the first after firing a wrist shot behind Nadeau who had been out of position. A power-play goal by Chris Culligan gave UNB a 2 – 1 lead.
After UNB’s second goal it looked like the Tigers were starting to fall apart. That changed when Brad McConnell scored to tie the game up at two. McConnell’s goal was a single-handed effort as he dumped the puck down from the defending zone and got past two UNB defenders in front of the crease who seemed to be standing still. The goal came to the surprise of Yeomans, who wasn’t sure where the puck had gone until the goal buzzer went off.
Daniel Bartek scored again, giving Dal the lead. Forward Ronald Kelly made a great backhand pass to Bartek from behind the net who made no mistake getting it past Yeoman’s blocker side.
Shea Kewin scored the first goal of the second period giving the Tigers their first two-goal lead of the game. Vandall would score his second of the game with 6:55 played in the second. Benjamin Breault would follow up to make it 6 – 2, giving Dal a comfortable four goal lead over the best team in the country.
Joshua Hepditch scored UNB’s third goal of the game late in the third.
The victory gives the Tigers a fourth-straight win, a feat which hasn’t been accomplished by the Tigers men’s hockey team as far back as 2003.
“It’s amazing. There is nothing better than winning. It’s a great feeling and hopefully we can keep it up for a while,” said Nadeau.
What makes this win streak even more memorable is that three out of the four victories have come against the top-rated teams in the country including defending University Cup champions Saint Mary’s.
Nadeau, who has started in all four of the Tigers wins, said that hard work is what got him back into the line-up.
“Josh Disher played really really well in the beginning of the season. I had maybe some difficulties but I kept working hard in practices and when I had my chance it turned out pretty good for me,” he said.