BERWICK (Nova Scotia) – Dominic LeBlanc scored four times, including the game winner in the third period, leading the Grand Falls Rapids to a 5-4 victory Sunday afternoon against the Valley Wildcats.
The Rapids complete their weekend trip to Nova Scotia with 3 points added to the standings in two games.
LeBlanc was the most dominant player on the ice on Sunday as it seemed that every presence he made resulted in scoring chances. And he did score… 4 times while adding 1 power play goal and 1 assist which gives him a season total of 11 goals and 6 assists for 17 points in 7 games.
The Rapids win their 3rd game of the season and their second on the road. Their record now stands at 3 wins, 3 losses and 1 extra time defeat for a total of 7 points.
LeBlanc didn’t waste any time to get things going for Grand Falls, scoring twice in the opening period.
Dylan Manning, who also had a good game offensively with a hat trick, gave Valley the lead at the 2-minute mark of the game following a miscue in front of the Rapids’ net. It was a shorthanded tally.
The Rapids responded at 7:35 when LeBlanc took advantage of a give away in Wildcats’ territory, sending a shot that beat netminder Sam Sinclair top shelf. Then LeBlanc added a second goal at 13:18 when his wrister from the slot reached the far side of the net, giving the Rapids a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes of play.
LeBlanc completed the hat trick at 3:55 of the second period on another high shot that went over the goalkeeper’s glove. Jeremy Boulanger, who initiated the rush, got his second assist of the game on Grand Falls’ third goal.
Valley would however come back with two quick goals in a span of only 9 seconds to tie the score 3-3. Dylan Manning was the recipient of both tallies, giving him 4 goals on the season.
The Rapids would regain the lead at the 8-minute mark of the period with the man advantage. Dominic LeBlanc fed a pass in front of the net to Ethan Johnson who scored on a backhand, giving the visitors a 4-3 lead after two periods of play.
It was a very physical second period as a total of 81 minutes in penalties were given, including game ejections on both sides. The final tally in penalty minutes would reach 127 min., by far the most in a game played by the Rapids this season.
The Wildcats tied the score early in the third frame on a goal from Landen Toole at 2:00. But the Rapids’ captain would add his fourth of the contest and the game winner at 5:19 on the power play with a shot from the point that found the back of the net.
The turning point of the third period occurred while Valley was on a long 5 on 3 power play. The Rapids’ penalty kill unit did an amazing job in holding their opponents to very few quality shots, blocking most of the pucks sent towards the net. They were able to hold on to the lead until the very end.
Adam Lecours registered the win between the pipes for Grand Falls, his second of the season.
*Ethan Johnson also had a great game offensively for Grand Falls with 1g and 2a. The LeBlanc-Johnson-Boulanger line would finish the game with 5g and 5a.
*The Rapids scored 2 power play goals on 6 PP opportunities. They were able to shut out their opponents on 8 PP tries.
*Game attendance: 255
*Three stars of the game: 1- Dominic LeBlanc (GFR); 2- Dylan Manning (VAL); 3- Luke Orr (VAL)
2:25 VAL Dylan Manning (2) ASST: None (SH)
7:35 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (8) ASST: Nicholas Brennan (1)
13:18 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (9) ASST: Ethan Johnson (7), Jeremy Boulanger (7)
3:55 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (10) ASST: Jeremy Boulanger (8)
6:56 VAL Dylan Manning (3) ASST: None
7:05 VAL Dylan Manning (4) ASST: Aidan MacLeod (1), Will Hartnell (2)
8:11 GFR Ethan Johnson (3) ASST: Dominic LeBlanc (6), Jules Delepoulle (5) (PP)
2:00 VAL Landen Toole (1) ASST: Braedon Hemenway (3), Cole McKeigan (3)
5:19 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (11) ASST: Tate Brenner (1), Ethan Johnson (8) (PP)