The holiday break probably couldn’t have come soon enough for the Dalhousie Tigers’ goaltenders.

While the Tigers are off to their most successful first half in six years — 8-7 and tied for fifth in Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey — they’re allowing almost 39 shots per game.

Those types of numbers could be hazardous to the health of stoppers Bobby Nadeau and Josh Disher.

“We have scored some goals but there’s no doubt about it: We have to do a better job defensively,” said Tigers head coach Pete Belliveau. “We’ve given up a lot of shots, but we’re pretty happy with our results, in light of that.”

With Disher and Nadeau bailing them out time and time again, the Tigers knocked off two national powerhouses — the New Brunswick Varsity Reds and Saint Mary’s Huskies — en route to four straight wins in November.

That’s pretty heady stuff for a young team featuring 16 of 24 players in their first or second seasons.

But a word of caution: Six of the Tigers’ eight wins came in overtime.

“It’s a flip of a coin,” Belliveau admitted, “but we’re starting to come around. The rookies are learning the league, the transition is coming.”

Jordan Skellett, an 88-point scorer from the Ontario Hockey League, will join the Tigers for the second half, while Zach Harnden is a potential mid-season addition from the American Hockey League.

Given that the Tigers are sitting in a playoff spot at the halfway mark, their first post-season appearance since 2004 is well within their grasp.

“Because the league is so tight, we’re not far from first or second,” Belliveau said. “We want to be in every game and finish strong. We’re not only hoping to make the playoffs, we want to finish as high as we can.”