Tigers drop first game of 2020 to Reds

Photo by Trevor MacMillan
Photo by Trevor MacMillan

Game recap by Kirk Jessome

(Halifax, NS) – In the first matchup of the New Year and the second half of the season, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the UNB Reds at the Halifax Forum. The Reds came back from two goals down to eventually take a 5-2 win over the Tigers.

The Tigers were able to strike quickly in the game, with Kelly Bent (Halifax, NS) working hard on a forecheck to create a turnover in the attacking zone where he found Brett Crossley (Dartmouth, NS) sitting in the slot to one-time the pass through the five-hole to open the scoring.

Tyler Boland (St. John's, NL) nearly found the equalizing goal just minutes later as a turnover in the Tigers end resulted with the puck ending up on his stick in the slot to send a hard one-timer toward the net, but Connor Hicks (Kanata, ON) was able to make a tough save with the glove.

Heading into the second period, there was just the lone goal as the Tigers led 1-0.

The Reds were dominating the scoring chances in the period with Boland getting another fantastic chance in front on a scramble play, but while on the seat of his pants, Hicks reached up with a glove to make a great save.

Once again on a smooth counter attack, the Tigers worked into the Reds end with Dillon Boucher coming off the half-wall and taking a quick shot on goal that was stopped by Rylan Parenteau (Saskatoon, SK), but the rebound was left in front for Colton Heffley (Swift Current, SK) to clean it up and give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

With about a minute to go in the period, the Reds were holding possession in the Tigers end once again, and this time Tristan Pomerleau was able to find a hole in the big crowd in front of the net to send home the Reds opening goal to make it 2-1 going into the third period.

The Tigers penalty kill was impressive throughout the game against one of the best power plays in the nation, killing off four penalties through the first two frames.

Once again, Parenteau was holding the Reds in it on another countering chance from the Tigers, as Boucher found Andrew Shewfelt (Dartmouth, NS) on the far side of the crease, but Parenteau went full sprawl to reach across and make an outstanding save to keep it a one-goal game.

Midway through the third period, Olivier Leblanc (Quebec, QC) had a quick solo rush into the Tigers end and as he was cutting low toward the goal-line, he sent a pass into the slot that was deflected off a Tigers defender into his own net to even the game up for the Reds at 2-2.

Less than a minute later, the Reds were attacking once again, with Oliver Cooper (Fredericton, NB) sending a harmless looking shot toward the goal from the half-boards, but it took a bounce in front and fooled Hicks to give the Reds a big 3-2 lead with 8 minutes to go.

The Tigers were given back to back power play chances, but it was to no avail, as Connor Hall (Cambridge, ON) and Kris Bennett (Brampton, ON) found the empty net to seal the 5-2 victory for the Reds.

Despite giving up the three goals, Connor Hicks was still solid in goal for the Tigers, making 49 saves in the loss, while on the other end, Rylan Parenteau only had to make 14 saves, but each of them were key in keeping his team alive through much of the game. Tristan Pomerleau was named the Subway Player of the Game, finishing with a goal and six shots to help his team to victory.

The Tigers will be back on home-ice tomorrow when they take on the Université de Moncton, while the Reds will take their road trip to Antigonish to take on the X-Men.