GRAND FALLS – Nick Mahar scored three goals while Logan O’Neil added a pair, leading the Pictou County Weeks Crushers to a 6-4 victory Sunday afternoon in Grand Falls against the Rapids.
It was a 6th consecutive loss for the Rapids who find themselves 5 points back of the Fredericton Red Wings for fifth position in the Eastlink North Division standings.
The Rapids took a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes of play. After trailing 1-0 on Nick Mahar’s first tally of the game, Grand Falls’ Dominic LeBlanc tied the game at the 14-minute mark on a great pass in front of the net from Yannic Bastarache. Then only 29 seconds later, Thomasz Szczerba scored his first goal in a Rapids’ uniform on a pass from Josh Russell, putting Grand Falls ahead.
The Weeks Crushers scored twice in the first 8 minutes of play of the second period to regain the lead. Preston Pattengale deflected a shot past Rapids’ netminder Charles-Antoine Julien at 4:48, then Logan O’Neil scored his first of the contest at 8:24 on a shot over the glove hand of Julien.
Grand Falls tied the score at the 10-minute mark of the period on Cole MacWilliam’s 5th goal of the season. But the visitors scored two late goals to take a 5-3 lead, both courtesy of Nick Mahar who completed his hat trick.
The Rapids reduced the margin to 5-4 at 16:17 of the third period on Dominic LeBlanc’s second of the game. LeBlanc went on a breakaway, but his shot was initially stopped by goaltender Jeremy Robar. However, LeBlanc took control of his own rebound, scoring his 23rd goal of the season.
The Rapids went on a power play with less than 1 minute remaining in the third period, but it was the Weeks Crushers who capitalized by adding an empty net goal at 19:26. Logan O’Neil was the recipient of Pictou County’s 6th goal of the game.
The final tally in shots on goal was 32 to 29 in favour of the Rapids.
Charles-Antoine Julien was between the pipes for the first two periods of play. Frédéric Plourde came into the game in the third period, allowing no goals.
The Rapids will return to action on Tuesday night, once again on home ice, as they play a make-up game against the Fredericton Red Wings. Puck drop is at 7:30 pm at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre.
*Nick Mahar (3g), Logan O’Neil (2g), Preston Pattengale (1g 1a) and Blake Deacon (2a) all led the way offensively for Pictou County.
Dominic LeBlanc (2g) and Yannic Bastarache (3a) were the leading scorers for the Rapids on Sunday afternoon.
*Both teams went scoreless on the power play. The Weeks Crushers’ empty net goal in the final minutes of the third period was scored shorthanded.
*Game attendance: 695 spectators
*Three stars of the game: 1- Nick Mahar (PCC); 2- Dominic LeBlanc (GFR) 3- Preston Pattengale (PCC)
12:03 PCC Nick Mahar (25) ASST: Preston Pattengale (2)
14:04 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (22) ASST: Yannic Bastarache (35), Will Morrison (2)
14:33 GFR Tomasz Szczerba (1) ASST: Josh Russell (5), Ben Diamond (27)
4:48 PCC Preston Pattengale (2) ASST: Blake Deacon (6)
8:24 PCC Logan O’Neil (13) ASST: Blake Deacon (7)
10:00 GFR Cole MacWilliam (5) ASST: Yannic Bastarache (36)
17:47 PCC Nick Mahar (26) ASST: Carter Murchison (29), Neil MacLean (27)
19:39 PCC Nick Mahar (27) ASST: Jake Edwards (10), Lucas Parsons (22)
16:17 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (23) ASST: Yannic Bastarache (37), Ethan Johnson (17)
19:26 PCC Logan O’Neil (14) ASST: None (EN, SH)