Game recap by Kirk Jessome
(Halifax, NS) – In the evening game of the double-header, the Tigers hosted the UNB Reds at Wickwire field on Friday. After jumping out to a lead, the Tigers had to hold off plenty of late pressure, but were able to come away with a 2-1 win.
The Tigers pressured early, with the return of Gracious Kasheke (Halifax, NS) providing a spark of energy up front for his team, but the Tigers were unable to generate a scoring chance early.
The Reds looked threatening with an aggressive chip-and-run counter-attack, looking for Tristan Nkoghe (Sherbrooke, QC) and Ben Gorringe (Mount Uniacke, NS) up front.
At the end of a quiet first half, the teams went into the break scoreless.
Enrico Rodriguez (Halifax, NS) was on the receiving end of a few great balls early in the second half, with one of them turning into a quick goal for the Tigers. Making a run down the left side, Rodriguez sent a great pass through the box for Skyler Bryant (Whitehorse, YT) coming through the box for a great redirection and a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers continued to push the ball up the left side for Rodriguez, but a few great crosses sailed through the box without finding a teammate.
The Reds pressured late in the half, looking for the equalizer, but were having trouble establishing themselves in the attacking end. A quick counter-attack resulted in a deep set-piece that was met by the head of Daniel Walker (Fredericton, NB), but was collected by Ben Grondin (Calgary, AB).
Picking their countering opportunities, the Tigers were able to secure an insurance goal with captain Freddy Bekkers (Halifax, NS) getting through the back-line for a great solo effort to put his team ahead 2-0.
It was a good thing he did, as the Reds were able to finally figure out the Tigers back-line, with Grondin committing to a high bounce at the top of the box that got over top of him and allowed Grant Takacs (Woodstock, ON) to have an easy tap-in.
The Reds continued to pressure late, but time eventually ran out on them and the Tigers were able to hold on for the 2-1 win.
The Tigers will look to keep their momentum rolling when they travel to face UPEI, while the Reds will play the second leg in Halifax against Saint Mary's tomorrow.