Antigonish, NS - On a cool Saturday afternoon the Dalhousie Tigers impressed with a 4-0 shutout victory over the StFX X-Men on seniors' day at Oland Stadium in the X-Men's final home game of the season.
On paper, it looked to be an intriguing encounter, with Dalhousie having not conceded a goal all season against StFX, a team that likes to turn on the flair and score at least twice a game. However, it was a game that Dalhousie dominated for 90 minutes and the four-goal victory was a fair reflection of each team's standard of play.
Before the game reached 60 seconds, StFX were at sixes and sevens at the back. A precise cross into the box looked headed for Kalleen Heenan (Dartmouth, NS) ended up being headed into the StFX net by X defender Josh Read (Bath, UK) as keeper Seamus MacDonald (Antigonish, NS) had himself come out too far from his line to play the ball.
Fifteen minutes later Dalhousie doubled their lead when they were awarded a corner kick. Isaiah McCullough (Sackville, NS) delivered a perfect corner which found the head of Heenan and he expertly delivered into the top corner of the StFX net.
Try as they might, the X-Men were not able to create many good offensive chances throughout the opening half. Too often, the player that received a pass was stationary, or not in a position to advance the ball efficiently. While Cole Suart (Calgary, AB) was able to win the ball more often than not, and Liam Elbourne (Halifax, NS) was polished on the ball, X's attack was unable to fire on all cylinders. Much of this can be put to the Tigers midfield of Nyle MacLeod (Ottawa, ON) and Freddy Bekkers (Halifax, NS). Bekkers and Suart had some great battles for the ball.
Half-time saw the introduction of the dynamic William Warren (Windsor, NS) who injected much needed pace and enthusiasm into the StFX side. He and left back Blake Fenton (Dartmouth, NS) worked well down the flank and gave Michael Trim (Berwick, NS) little time to contemplate how to contain the offensive attacks. Fortunately for the Tigers, Trim's quick thinking matched his speed and skill.
All of Dalhousie's players showed their ability to play with and without the ball and, when the time presented itself, play with creativity. Foremost among the creative players was forward Enrico Rodriguez (Halifax, NS), who scored the Tigers' two second half goals, and both scored on the counter attack. The first was a screamer from distance that expertly found its way to the top corner of the net. The second was a cool as you like finish along the deck.
For his efforts in the game, Dalhousie's Kellen Heenan earned Subway player of the game honours. StFX's Blake Fenton was the player of the game for the home team.
Both StFX and Dalhousie are back in action tomorrow. The X-Men will travel to Charlottetown to face the Panthers Sunday at 4:15 pm, while the Tigers will be in Sydney to play the Capers at 3:15 pm.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Sports Information