Men’s hockey drop home opener to Dalhousie

Randy Cameron (left) and captain Mike Eagles chase for a loose puck. They are expected to lead the STU offence this year. (Tom Bateman/AQ)

The Dalhousie Tigers spoiled the St. Thomas Tommie’s home opener Friday night at the Lady Beaverbrook Rink. Pierre-Alexandre Vandall scored the go-ahead goal for the Tigers midway through the third period and Dal added an empty netter late to win 5-3.

Vandall silenced a rowdy crowd of 815 fans when he ripped a wrist shot over St. Thomas goalie Charles Lavigne’s shoulder.

Tigers back-up goaltender Wendell Vye stopped all the shots he faced in relief of Bobby Nadeau. Nadeau left the game after the second period after aggravating a lower body injury. The pair combined to stop 32 of the Tommie’s 35 shots.

Charles Lavigne started in goal for the Tommie’s and stopped 33 of 35 Tigers shots in the loss.

Special teams were a positive for the Tommie’s; new captain Matt Eagles beat Nadeau on a powerplay goal early in the second period. Eagles took the puck hard to the net and undressed Nadeau with a forehand deke. Andrew Andicropolous added a shorthanded goal to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the break. Rookie Jonathan Bonneau also scored for the Tommie’s.

The Tommie’s have lost all three games this season by two goals or less and are looking for more consistency from their top guys as the season moves forward.

“We’re going to have to be a hard working, blue collar team and I think we did that again tonight,” said captain Matt Eagles. “I’m going to take a little bit of the onus on myself and some of our senior so-called more skilled guys, we had a tough night tonight. Their best players really produced for them and we struggled a little bit. I think if we win that battle tonight we probably get a win in this game.”

There are signs of hope for the struggling Tommie’s, after Benjamin Breault scored a breakaway goal midway through the second, the Tommie’s did not quit. Energized by the crowd Bonneau, scored 28 seconds later cutting the lead to 3-2. Andicopolous scored later to tie the game.

“I do think there’s good leadership in the dressing room,” said Eagles. “We do have some good character, we battled back and it was a one goal game right to the end of the game and that’s something that wasn’t a characteristic of our team last year.”

The Tommie’s succeeded to get pucks to the net all night against the Tigers, but Head Coach Troy Ryan is looking for his team to capitalize on more of their opportunities.

The Tommies next play Friday night away against St. Mary’s.

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