Dalhousie inching closer to ending playoff drought - Metro US

Dalhousie inching closer to ending playoff drought

The playoffs are within reach for the Dalhousie Tigers men’s hockey team — and that’s saying something.

The Tigers, who lost 113 of 140 games and had four-straight last-place finishes coming into this season, are inching closer to ending a five-season non-playoff drought as second-year head coach Pete Belliveau rebuilds the program.

Heading into the final two weeks of the Atlantic University Sport season, the Tigers have the final playoff spot with an 8-12-3 record and are playing their best hockey in ages.

“Holy God, it’s been a long time,” said Belliveau, the architect of a national championship team with the Moncton Aigles Bleus in 1995. “It’s been six years. The veterans here haven’t seen a playoff game since they suited up for Dal.”

For the first time in a long time, there’s some excitement — and something to cheer about — at Memorial Arena. The Tigers just keep getting better, having won four of their last six and posting a 6-4-2 record in their past 12 games.

The mid-season arrival of sniper Benjamin Breault — a four-time QMJHL 30-goal scorer — has revived a struggling offence. After just 10 games, he’s already tied for the team lead in goal-scoring with seven. He has 10 points in total.

“Breault is going to be our go-to guy,” Belliveau said. “He’s here for that and he’s been delivering. He’s a natural sniper … He’s so good two ways and he’s good on draws … But boy can he score and his goals are key goals, too.”

The road to a playoff spot won’t be easy.

With five games remaining, Moncton is just two points behind and the St. Thomas Tommies are three points behind. Dal has to play the unbeaten New Brunswick Varsity Reds twice.

“We haven’t won anything yet,” Belliveau cautioned. “There are still 10 points up for grabs. We’re OK, but we still have a lot of work ahead. If we can make the playoffs after six years of being shut out … We’d be pretty excited.”

Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey

y-New Brunswick 23 0 0 46
x-Acadia 15 6 2 32
x-Saint Mary’s 12 8 4 28
St. F.X. 10 10 4 24
P.E.I. 10 11 2 22
Dalhousie 8 12 3 19
Moncton 8 14 1 17
St. Thomas 7 14 2 16

• Note: (y-top two teams clinch first-round playoff bye; x-top six teams clinch playoff spots)

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