GRAND FALLS – Olivier Coulombe scored three goals on Sunday afternoon as the Edmundston Blizzard won their 10th game in a row, defeating the Grand Falls Rapids by a score of 3-1 with 951 spectators in attendance at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre.
Ben Diamond, with his 14th of the season, scored for the Rapids who remain at 28 points in the Eastlink North standings, tied for 4th spot with the Summerside Western Capitals, the next team they will meet on the schedule.
The Blizzard played a solid game, leaving very little space for the Rapids to manoeuver and leaving them with very few shots from up close. The Rapids sent 17 pucks on net during the contest, most of those shots coming on the 6 power play opportunities they were granted. Diamond’s goal came with the man advantage in the opening frame as Grand Falls shot only 3 times on netminder Thomas Boucher in those first twenty minutes of play.
Even though he only faced 26 shots in total, Rapids’ netminder Joshua Fleming made some key saves and was largely responsible for keeping the game close until the very end.
Ben Diamond put the Rapids ahead at 12:16 of the first period after he deflected a shot from the stick of Yannic Bastarache. It was Diamond’s 8th power play tally of the season as he now joins Bastarache and two other players for the league lead in power play goals.
But the Blizzard responded quickly with a power play goal of their own at 14:08. Olivier Coulombe sent a wrist shot from the slot that beat Fleming on the glove side.
Coulombe would then add his second goal of the game at 17:34 following a rebound that came off a Rapids’ player. Coulombe spun around and sent a low shot that found the back of the net, giving Edmundston a 2-1 lead.
The Blizzard led the first period in shots on goal (16 to 3) and in puck possession, leaving the Rapids with very few chances to get organized offensively.
The game tightened up during the second and third periods as only 24 shots in total were registered. The Rapids were held without a shot for the first 8 minutes of play of the third frame.
Coulombe completed his hat trick by scoring in an empty net with only 8 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Rapids will play their next two games on the road as they travel to Summerside for a game on Thursday night (7pm) against the Western Capitals. Both teams have the same number of points in the standings (28). Then on Saturday night, Greg Leland’s squad will be in Edmundston for a rematch against the Blizzard (7:30pm).
*Anastasios Lazaris collected 2 assists for the Blizzard on Sunday.
Dominic Leblanc and Yannic Bastarache both assisted on Ben Diamond’s power play goal for Grand Falls in the first period.
*The Rapids were 1 for 6 on the power play while Edmindston went 1 for 4.
*Game attendance: 951 spectators
*Three stars of the game: 1- Olivier Coulombe (EDM); 2- Joshua Fleming (GFR); 3- Ben Diamond (GFR)
|12:16||GFR||Ben Diamond (14) ASST: Dominic LeBlanc (14), Yannic Bastarache (23) (PP)|
|14:08||EDM||Olivier Coulombe (17) ASST: Evan Gass (4) (PP)|
|17:34||EDM||Olivier Coulombe (18) ASST: Anastasios Lazaris (5), Jérémie Thibodeau (11)|
|19:52||EDM||Olivier Coulombe (19) ASST: Anastasios Lazaris (6), Tristan Fortin (17) (EN)|