The Tigers collect 6 points in New Brunswick

This past weekend the Dalhousie Tigers Men’s Soccer team travelled out of province for games against L’Université de Moncton and the University of New Brunswick.  The previous weekend, the Tigers boasted a 1-1 record, losing 1-0 to UPEI and winning 1-0 over Mount Allison.  L’Aigles Bleus of Moncton came into the weekends match with a 1-0 victory over the Mount Allison Mounties under their belts. While, the UNB Varsity Reds had an identical record to the Tigers, 1-1, trading victories in a 2 game series at Memorial University.

First up for the Tigers was Moncton on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers were once again without Captain Kerry Weymann due to injury. Weymann did not travel with the team for the weekend games, staying back in Halifax to nurse the injury. Wesley Hawley once again filled in for Weymann at centreback while transfer Phil Parsons was given his first start, after clearing eligibility mid-week, in the midfield alongside Nate Rogers. The Tigers started the game well against L’Aigles Bleus and early pressure showed as winger Mark Hagen was put through one v one with the keeper but disappointingly mishit his shot. 2nd year striker Tyler Lewars was showing his determination to get himself on the scoreboard with multiple chances throughout the half. He finally managed to put one into the back of the net when he played a great wall pass with Nate Rogers who slipped the ball back to Lewars sending him in on goal for an easy finish beyond the Moncton keeper. Moncton did manage to create a chance at the stroke of half but could not put it behind Captain Ben Ur. Midway through the second half a lapse in the Tigers back line allowed the Moncton striker to get behind the line and was deemed to have been fouled. After disputing with the linesman, a penalty kick was given and taken advantage of, levelling the score at 1-1. The Tigers continued to pressure the Moncton defense, trying desperately  to get a second goal. Ben Ur had some great distribution out of his hands all game long kickstarting the counter attacks. Moncton had an opportunity to take the lead when they saw a point blank shot hit the crossbar and fly to safety. The Tigers then went on the attack and managed to win a corner deep into the second half. New recruit Bezick Evraire-Chance headed the ball across the line for the game winner and his first ever AUS goal. Strong midfield play was a key aspect to Dalhousies game. The addition of Phil Parsons was an evident success as he was strong defensively all game and allowed Evraire-Chance and Rogers the chance to play more freely.

Starting Line-up: Ben Ur (GK), Jordan Mannix (WB), Nick Persichino (CB), Wesley Hawley (CB), Zach Fisher(WB), Nate Rogers(CM), Phil Parsons(CM), Bezick Evraire-Chance(CM),  Mark Hagen (WM), Julian Perrotta(WM), Tyler Lewars (ST)

On Sunday the Tigers travelled to the University of New Brunswick for a game against the Varsity Reds. Striker Tyler Lewars picked up a 3rd yellow card and an injury on Saturday so he played no role in the game. With Lewars out, coach Pat Nearing handed a first career start to new recruit Robbie Engert. Coach Nearing also gave back-up goalie Jason Ross his first start in the AUS leaving Captain Ben Ur out of the line-up. With Kerry Weymann and Ben Ur both not in the starting eleven, 3rd year Nate Rogers was given the Captains armband. The Tigers got off to a flier scoring at the 1:20 mark. Captain Rogers collected the ball off of a throw-in and slipped winger Julian Perrotta in behind the defenders for a tap-in and his first goal since his rookie year with the Tigers.  Dalhousie were on the attack from that moment on and dominated the possession, most importantly, in the attacking third. They created many good scoring chances from corner kicks and free-kicks almost scoring on many of them. Striker Robbie Engert put in a really good performance working hard all game and causing the UNB backline extra stress with all his running and closing down. The Tigers managed to put the game beyond reach when Nate Rogers made a nice tackle in the middle of the park stripping the UNB midfielder. He then slipped Perrotta in behind the backline again who slid the ball into the back of the net for his second of the day and season. Coach Pat Nearing then sent the UNB commentators for a loop when he introduced Ben Ur into the game as a Striker. Lucky for UNB he never did get a chance to shoot, as anybody who has seen Ur kick a ball knows that there would be a strong chance of a goal.  The Tigers won 2-0 with 1st year keeper Jason Ross collecting the shutout in his very first AUS appearance.

Starting Line-up: Jason Ross (GK), Mannix (WB), Nick Persichino (CB), Wesley Hawley (CB), Zach Fisher (WB), Bezick Evraire-Chance (CM), Phil Parsons (CM), Nate Rogers (CM), Mark Hagen (WM), Julian Perrotta (WM), Robbie Engert (ST)

The Dalhousie Tigers Mens soccer team collected 6 points improving their season record to 3-1 and showed that they are now contenders in the AUS league after a shaky opening weekend. With a much improved midfield the Tigers created a lot more attacking chances. Centre midfielder Phil Parsons had this to say about the weekend, “The games went well. Improvements were definitely noticeable from the first game to the second, especially in the way we moved the ball through the midfield. It’s always nice to come home with 2 W’s after 2 games on the road.” The Tigers are back at Wickwire next Saturday for a match against early league leaders Cape Breton University who come into town after a 9-1 skinning of Acadia University improving their record to 3-0 to start the season.

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Tigers Opening Weekend

This weekend the Dalhousie Tigers Men’s Soccer team opened their season against UPEI on Saturday and Mount Allison on Sunday. Coming into the weekend matches there was a lot of speculation about the youth of the team and how the team would work together. On Saturday, the Tigers faced a resilient UPEI Panthers team falling to a 1-0 opening day loss. Goalkeeper Ben Ur made a standout save in the first half when the midfield gave the ball away in a dangerous area.  UPEI played a perfect slip sending their striker in behind the back line one on one. The Tigers could never really get much going on the attack.  Striker Tyler Lewars played the full 90 minutes but rarely saw the ball as UPEI played strong in the middle of the field not allowing the slips.  New recruit Nick Persichino looked good in his Dalhousie debut looking calm and composed in tackles he needed to make.  Arguably the Tigers best chance of the game came deep into stoppage time when the ball fell brilliantly for Winger Julian Perrotta who struck a left footed shot only to be saved by the UPEI keeper.  Quickly followed by another chance off a free-kick from the wing where new recruit James Nearing found himself open at the back post but put his half volley attempt just past the post.  Adding to an already disappointing day, Captain Kerry Weymann suffered an injury in the second half and had to be taken off.

The Tigers starting line-up: Ben Ur (G), Jordan Mannix (WB), Kerry Weymann(CB), Nick Persichino (CB), Zach Fisher (WB), Nate Rogers (CM), Wesley Hawley (CM), Bezick Evraire-Chance (CAM), Mark Hagen (W), Julian Perrotta (W), Tyler Lewars (ST).

Sunday’s match against Mount Allison University was the next challenge for the Tigers who needed a strong outing after Saturdays disappointing result.  The Tigers made a couple of changes to Saturday’s line-up.  With the absence of captain Kerry Weymann due to injury 4th year Wesley Hawley started at CB and 1st year James Nearing got to slot in as a centre midfielder.  Hawley was not in his natural position but put in a strong game for DAL and look composed in the air and in the tackle alongside defensive partner Nick Persichino. The backline had a good game and didn’t allow any quality chances to the Mounties, restricting them to long shots that never troubled Ben Ur. The Tigers had good play in the midfield, a definite improvement from Saturday versus UPEI.  Perrotta was constantly bombing down the wing into promising positions and Rogers played well in the middle with some good passing.  2nd year striker Tyler Lewars scored the Tigers first goal of the season partway through the first half. Evraire-Chance played a nice ball to Lewars who made a quick turn between the Mounties centrebacks. Lewars found himself with time and space for a shot just outside the 18-yard box and with no mistake drove the ball into the back of the net.  The Tigers closed up shop in the back and at the end of 90 minutes walked off the pitch with a 1-0 victory.

The Tigers starting line-up: Ben Ur (G), Jordan Mannix (WB), Nick Persichino (CB), Wesley Hawley (CB), Zach Fisher (WB), Nate Rogers (CM), James Nearing (CM), Bezick Evraire-Chance (CAM), Mark Hagen (W), Julian Perrotta (W), Tyler Lewars (ST).

The Tigers are on the road this weekend for games against the University of New Brunswick and the Université de Moncton on Saturday and Sunday. With a .500 season so far the Tigers will be looking for  solid performances to get some points before they get into the month of October where they will face St. Francis Xavier, St. Mary’s, and Cape Breton all in quick succession.

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Tigers Soccer Preview

The Dalhousie Tigers Soccer team starts their 2011 campaign this weekend at Wickwire Field against the University of Prince Edward Island on Saturday and faces Mount Allison on Sunday.  Pat Nearing enters his 13th year as head coach of the Tigers.  Pat and his coaching staff has put together a solid young team to compete for another AUS title.  The men boast a young roster with a large number of new recruits.  As always the AUS soccer division promises to be the most competitive in the country and after St. Mary’s strong bronze medal showing at the CIS Championships last year.  Two places have been allocated to the AUS for this year’s National Championships in Victoria, BC. The team that takes first place at the end of the season will get an automatic place in Victoria while the next top 6 teams will play at Cape Breton University November 4-6 for the second spot.

5th year Captain Ben Ur and 4th year Captain Kerry Weymann should both be hopeful as they walk onto Wickwire to start the new season.  A good strong start in September should put them in good standing for their tough string of games in October.  New recruits Bezick Evraire-Chance and Mark Hagen (brother of ex-captain Ross Hagen) are two players to watch this season.  Evraire-Chance brings some creativity to the center of the park where he will look to feed 2nd year striker Tyler Lewars who will be hopeful of adding to his 3 goal tally from last year.  Mark Hagen brings some real speed to the roster.  Whether he plays on the wing or at wingback watch for him to be bombing up and down the touchline using his speed to his advantage.  5th year transfer from Carleton University, Nick Persichino will help bolster an already strong back line for the Tigers.  Persichino will be expected to slot in beside Kerry Weymann at the back, he is a strong physical presence and expect to see many hard tackles from him this season. The Tigers midfield has been bolstered by the addition of transfer student Phillip Parsons from Bucknell University.  He will be joined by 3rd year Nate Rogers who has pushed up from the back line this year. Both players are smart defensively and will have important roles against the top teams of the AUS.  5th year Wesley Hawley also adds to the strong Midfield and look for his creative play throughout the season. As always Ben Ur will be given the task of holding down the fort in goal with new recruit Jason Ross as his back-up.

Kickoff on Saturday is at 3:15pm. The men have some history with this UPEI team and some of the senior players will still be playing for some revenge come Saturday afternoon as it was the Panthers who ended the Tigers playoff run back in 2009 with a heartbreakiing 4-3 victory in the semi-finals. After last seasons 0-0 draw you can be sure that redemption will still be on the books.  The Tigers face some tough opposition in UPEI but I see them coming out on top with a 1-0 victory. It won’t be easy though, the first game of the season never is. Both teams will still be trying to find their legs and gel together.  I feel the Tigers boast a strong enough line-up and with patience and good build-up play will break down the Panthers. Sunday the Tigers kickoff at 3:15pm against Mount Allison. I predict a 2-0 victory for the Tigers over the Mounties with a calm and collected performance. As long as the Tigers can play to their strengths and keep possession then they should not be to pressured by Mount Allison.

Some players to watch for over the weekend and course of the season are new recruits Mark Hagen and Bezick Evraire-Chance. Both are young exciting players who promise to have bright futures. Also watch for the creative play of Nate Rogers in the middle of the park which promises to be a solid aspect of the Tigers play this season.

This young Tiger’s team has lots to prove but definitely have the ability to make an impact this year and for many years to come.  Saturday morning is the dawn of the new season and there is lots of excitement. With the prospect of 6 strong teams challenging for the 2 places in Victoria this season it is sure to be nail biting and as always, come right down to the final whistle.  A final good luck to the team as they prepare for their first game against UPEI and to the new season!

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Finding the Right Fit

This offseason has been unique and with the lockout ending, there have been plenty of eyes watching where the free agent quarterbacks will land.  We have developed a list of teams who need a veteran quarterback to groom a rookie/young quarterback and who best fits that role and who shouldn’t be starting.

Arizona Cardinals – Since the departure of Kurt Warner the Cardinals have lost all rhythm on offense.  They should of drafted a young quarterback this year but head coach Ken Whisenhunt sees something in his current quarterbacks: Max Hall and John Skelton. Arizona fans wish Kurt Warner was like Brett Favre, coming in and out of retirement, but things move on and they need a QB fast. The offseason hype surrounding the Cardinals is the possibility of them trading Dominique Rogers-Cromartie for Kevin Kolb.

Will Kevin Kolb land in Arizona or stay in Philly?

Kevin Kolb hasn’t proved anything in this league besides being Donovan McNabb and Mike Vick’s towel boy.  He isn’t worth the value of what everybody thinks he is.  There is probably a reason why he is being traded away from Philly, the Cardinals should have worked out a trade with the Redskins to get McNabb who has a summer house in Arizona already and would have been the best fit.

Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins have been in a quarterback hole for the longest time.  With Chad Pennington, Pat White and Chad Henne taking turns at the starting pivot position. The Dolphins are another team who has not had a consistent starting quarterback.  When Chad Henne was benched for Tyler Thigpen, it showed that maybe it’s time to sign a veteran quarterback on the market.  The Dolphins should trade for Carson palmer or McNabb, unfortunately the Vikings picked up McNabb early in free agency.

Vikings – One of the biggest surprises in the NFL draft this year was when the Vikings drafted quarterback Christen Ponder from Florida State.  Ponder was rated a 3rd round pick but scouts agree he has a lot of potential.  When I see Ponder play he reminds me a lot of Trent Green, but Ponder isn’t ready to step in and lead the Vikings.  They need to sign a West Coast quarterback. They picked up McNabb to fill the void.

McNabb is heading to the Vikings after a short stint with the Redskins

Washington Redskins – What is going on in Redskin Nation at the quarterback position?  Who knows but Dan Synder and who really knows when the last time they had a solid starter at quarterback was.  With the McNabb situation not working out in Washington and Coach Shanahan wanting to start Rex Grossman or John Beck over McNabb boggles everybody’s mind.  A good fit for Washington would be either Carson Palmer because he is only in it for the money and Washington will pay him or Kyle Orton to win and put up big numbers.

Tennessee titans – With the biggest shock in the draft the Titans drafted Jake locker who many think is a clone of Kyle Boller and Vince Young. Where do the Titans go with free agency?  They could start Locker and feed him to the dogs in year one, but he should learn from a veteran like Matt Hasselback, who they have agreed to sign.

Written by Sylvester JR Alexander.

Posted in NFL, Sylvester JR Alexander | 1 Comment

Reunited Once Again.

Matt Leinart, a former Heisman trophy winner at the University of Southern California; will soon be reunited with his former USC head coach Pete Carroll.  This time around they will be playing for the Seattle Seahawks.

Matt Leinart and Pete Carroll back at USC, they will be reunited in Seattle

Matt Leinart and Pete Carroll were a part of the great USC dynasty that dominated college in the early 2000’s; before they were accused of cheating for illegal recruiting, but that’s a whole other topic to discuss.  Leinart who has been considered a NFL bust (a top 10 pick a few years ago by the Arizona Cardinals) never made any noise when he was replaced by an aging Kurt Warner.  He was then released by the Cardinals this past season and signed with the Houston Texans and sat on the bench backing up Matt Schaub.  Everybody saw when Schaub got hurt; Leinart was supposed to go in for him but lost his helmet and only worsened his reputation for being a bust.

Pete Carroll, former USC coach is now transferring to the NFL again for his second time around as an NFL coach.  The Seahawks coach has been playing musical chairs with his quarterbacks in Seattle trying to find the winning formula with little success.  Now he has a quarterback who is familiar with his system and one that helped him achieve a NCAA BCS national championship shot.  In that game they lost to University of Texas longhorns, who were led by an inspirational Vince Young in one of the greatest games in College Football history.

Is Leinart the right answer in Seattle?  Yes.  In Arizona, Leinart ran a spread heavy passing attack that he was not familiar with.  Playing quarterback and switching to offensive schemes that you are not familiar with can cause huge ripple effects.  An example would be Vince young.   It did not work out in Tennessee.  Why, because the offensive system he ran in college was nowhere close to the offense he ran for the Titans.  Another example, Mark Sanchez.  The reason why Mark is successful in New York is because the Jets run the same West Coast attack that he ran at USC.  Not many quarterbacks can make an offensive scheme switch with much success.  Teams need to adapt to their offense to fit the quarterback to be successful in this quarterback driven league.

Let’s hope it works out for Matt in Seattle, because there may not be so many options following this audition.

Written by Sylvester JR Alexander

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A new logo for a new franchise

The Winnipeg Jets have been working hard as an organization to keep the franchise rolling.   The one thing that the fans were waiting for more than anything else, the logo and jersey.

This happens to be a two step process which had fans going crazy in anticipation for the new logo.  The Jerseys will be released shortly but the logo was the first to come.

How did they release the logo? They did it online to the general public.

I happened to be twitter when I started seeing tweets talking about the new logo.  They did it very low key releasing the logo at 4 pm on the Winnipeg Jets Website.

The Logo has a fighter Jet in front of a maple leaf, with a blue circle surrounding it.  Inspired by the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force).  Keeping its roots true, this shows another classy move made by True North Sports.

Upon its initial release the logo had received mixed responses of people who loved it or weren’t quite sold on it.

When I first saw the logo, I was a little bit disappointed seeing as how the former Jets logo was so historic it was a radical change.  After a few more minutes of looking at it, it had started to grow on me.

After reading the responses on twitter, many people were feeling the same thing I was.  Besides that many people lined up instantaneously at the newly named merchandise store in the MTS center to get their new gear.

The logo is just a logo, and in time it will grow on people.  The main thing to remember is that we have an NHL team again and at the end of the day that is what really counts.

Comments, Thoughts, Feedback? Follow Armaan on Twitter @therealbrindian

Posted in Armaan Ahluwalia, Hockey, NHL, Winnipeg Jets | 1 Comment