The Dalhousie Tigers are hoping to wipe the slate clean.
The Tigers kick off the Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey season on Friday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Arena against the Saint Mary’s Huskies and will put their revamped roster — featuring a whopping 11 newcomers — to its first test.
The Tigers have missed the playoffs five straight seasons since winning national bronze in 2004 in Fredericton, N.B., and have lost a stunning 113 of their past 140 games.
“It’s (the recruits) certainly a step in the right direction,” said Tigers head coach Pete Belliveau, who took over on the eve of last season.
“This is my first major recruiting class. We’re very young.”
The recruits expected to make most impact include goaltender Bobby Nadeau from the P.E.I. Rocket and defenceman Benoit Gervais from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
Forwards Daniel Bartek, Francois Gauthier and Shea Kewin all have proven major junior backgrounds, while Porters Lake’s Ryan Stoddard is among a handful of junior A standouts whom Belliveau is hoping can be difference-makers.
Although the losses of top scorers Tyler Dyck and Chad McCaffrey hurt, forwards Patrick Sweeney and Trevor MacKenzie and defencemen Kyle Raftis and Devrin Stonehouse lead a solid group of returning veteran players.
“They’re all great students,” Belliveau said, of his recruits.
“Three are in engineering and a couple are in science. I’m hoping they’re not fly-by-night, one-year-and-go (players). I hope they’re a long-lasting foundation for this program.”
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