FREDERICTON – The Fredericton Red Wings scored twice in the shootout frame to earn a 3-2 victory on Thursday night over the visiting Grand Falls Rapids.
Both teams are now tied for 5th spot in the Eastlink North division standings with 35 points. They both trail the Miramichi Timberwolves by 10 points for the 4th and final playoff spot in the division.
The Rapids played a good game overall, sending 36 shots and goal and playing well defensively. Dominic LeBlanc and Yannic Bastarache both came close to ending the game in overtime as netminder Mathias Savoie stood his ground between the pipes for the Red Wings.
Charles-Antoine Julien made a second consecutive start in goal for Grand Falls. Julien faced a total of 34 shots, including 27 in total during the first two periods of play.
Mathieu Pelletier, a native of St.Jacques NB, got the Red Wings on the board in the opening period at 3:46.
Pelletier would give Fredericton a 2-0 lead at the 14-minute mark of the second period following a scramble in front of the Rapids, net. It was a power play goal for the Red Wings.
The Rapids responded quickly however following Pelletier’s second goal. Dominic Leblanc, well positioned to the side of the net, tallied his 18th of the season to reduce the margin for Grand Falls at 15:14.
Through forty minutes of play, shots on goal favored the Red Wings, 27 to 21.
Only one goal was scored in the third period. It came at 3:47 after Ethan Johnson intercepted a pass at the Fredericton blue line, then rushed to the net, sending a wrist shot into the top corner to beat Savoie. At that point, the game was tied 2-2.
The Rapids dominated the overtime frame in shots on goal (7 to 3) while coming very close to earning the victory. Charles-Antoine Julien also had to make a couple of key saves during the 5-minute extra time period.
Xzander Pierce and Dell Wellton both scoreed for Fredericton in the shootout while the Rapids were denied both times by Savoie.
Both teams will meet again on Friday night, this time at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre. Puck drop is ay 7:30 pm.
*Three Red Wings’ players finished the game with 2 points: Mathieu Pelletier (2g), Manix Sarrasin (2a) and Slava Melikov (2a).
Ethan Johnson also had 2 points for the Rapids with a performance of 1g and 1a.
*Fredericton scored once on the power play on 4 PP opportunities while the Rapids went scoreless in two tries.
*Game attendance: 698 spectators
*Three stars of the game: 1- Mathieu Pelletier (FRW) 2- Mathias Savoie (FRW); 3- Ethan Johnson (GFR)
|3:46||FRW||Mathieu Pelletier (12) ASST: Slava Melikov (29), Manix Sarrasin (12)|
|14:07||FRW||Mathieu Pelletier (13) ASST: Manix Sarrasin (13), Slava Melikov (30) (PP)|
|15:14||GFR||Dominic LeBlanc (18) ASST: Ethan Johnson (9), Marc-Antoine Belzile (10)|
|3:47||GFR||Ethan Johnson (3) ASST: None|