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Unfinished business: Hurricanes, Tigers finish in an 18-18 draw, face off in semi-finals next weekend

October 20, 2013

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – The Holland College Hurricanes stormed back late in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 unanswered points as they finished in an 18-all draw against the Dalhousie Tigers at Wickwire Field in Halifax Saturday night.

The Hurricanes finished the season in third place with a 1-4-1 record, while the Tigers, 4-1-1, finished second.

The match was a playoff preview as both teams will face off again Oct. 26 in the semi-finals.

“We never lost faith in our team. We just have to execute our game plan and do what we know we can do to compete with anyone in this league,” said quarterback Christian Hackney.

Midway through the first quarter, the Tigers’ Robbie Tufts escaped the Hurricanes defence as quarterback Matt Shannon found him open in the end zone for the 7-0 advantage. Before the end of the quarter a Hurricanes penalty at the one-yard line pushed them back leading to a field goal, slimming the lead 7-3.

Both defences were in full force in the second quarter as both teams were held scoreless. Hurricanes receiver Eugene McMinns made an impact in the quarter making 28 and 47-yard catches.

A key Hurricanes sack late in the third quarter halted a Dalhousie drive, leading to a field goal and a 10-3 lead. A costly Hurricanes fumble shortly after gave the Tigers great field position. They capitalized on the miscue scoring another touchdown on a 39-yard grab by Tufts. At the end of three the Tigers led 18-3.

A big hit by Hurricanes cornerback Garvin Cius in the fourth quarter sparked the entire team as they took over late in the game.  Along with some smothering defence, the offence was able to score on their last two possessions of the game.

“I thought we stepped up, we knew we had a chance last week, we did the same thing, we had that belief and today we wanted it,” Cius said.

With less than five minutes in the game, the Hurricanes used the running game of Blizzard (31 yards on the drive) and a 35-yard catch and run from Rodney Blaise to march down the field. Hackney finished the drive, finding Blaise for a five-yard catch and score, cutting the lead 18-10.

The Hurricanes defence stepped up again, quickly getting their offence back on the field for the final drive.

There was no time to waste. With two minutes to go, Hackney stayed composed, extending the drive on a crucial third down quarterback sneak. Following an Xavier Hanna 20-yard catch, the Hurricanes found themselves in another third down situation. Third-and-goal from the two-yard line and the game on the line, Hackney found receiver Nick Hartling for a touchdown catch, making it 18-16. The drama didn’t end there. The Hurricanes still needed to convert a two-point conversion. Following the snap, Hackney felt the pressure, stepped up into the pocket and found running back Jordan Blizzard in the end zone, tying the game 18 apiece, for the final score.

The Hurricanes now look ahead to next week’s rematch with more confidence than ever.

“We continue to work on our confidence and our ability to completely trust each other. Hopefully we are coming together at exactly the right time. Although our record isn’t the best in the league we feel we are a threat to beat anyone on any given day,” said Hurricanes head coach Mark MacDougall.

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