GRAND FALLS – Goaltender Kenzie MacPhail blocked a total of 51 shots, including three in the shootout frame, as the Pictou County Weeks Crushers defeated the Grand Falls Rapids by a score of 3-2 Friday night at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre.
Ben Mercer was the only player to score in the shootout session, sending a wrist shot that gave the visitors the advantage for good.
The Rapids did everything they could to beat MacPhail who was solid between the pipes, as was his counterpart Adam Lecours who faced a total of 36 shots from the Weeks Crushers.
Grand Falls finally got on the board in the third period and even took a 2-1 lead whith under 5 minutes to play in regulation time, but the visitors were able to tie the score late in the period to force extra time.
The Rapids still manage to pick up a point in the standings and are currently 1 point behind the Campbellton Tigers for 4th spot in the Eastlink North division standings.
It was indeed a goaltending battle from beginning to end. After twenty minutes of play, the game was scoreless with Grand Falls dominating 15 to 9 in shots on goal.
It was finally the Weeks Crushers who were first to get on the board in the middle frame. Following a turnover in Rapids’ territory, Logan O’Neil fed a pass in front of the net to Ben Mercer who tipped the puck behind Adam Lecours for a 1-0 Pictou County lead at the 12-minute mark of the period.
As the game got more tighter in the third period, it became difficult for the Rapids to garner any offensive threat in the opposing zone. However, it took a great individual effort from Marcellus Francis with 6 minutes left in regulation time to tie the score. Francis came in on the rush, going backhand to forehand as he beat MacPhail with a high shot.
It was goal no. 1 on the season for Francis who played a great game, showing his great speed and puck control skills.
Then at 16:36 while on the power play, Dominic LeBlanc would give the Rapids the lead with his 13th goal of the season and his 5th PP tally.
When it appeared as though the Rapids would hang on for the win, the Weeks Crushers pulled their goalie with over two minutes left and were able to tie the game on Nick Mahar’s one-timer.
No goals were scored in overtime as Grand Falls had 4 shots on goal against 2 for Pictou County.
The Rapids will play their next game once again on home ice on Sunday afternoon as they host the Summerside Western Capitals. Puck drop will be at 3pm at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre.
*Ben Mercer was the only player on both sides to finish the game with 2 points. He had 1g and 1a while scoring the game winning goal in the shootout.
*The Rapids went 1 for 3 on the power play. Grand Falls was only penalized once in the entire game.
*Game attendance: 792
*Three stars of the game: 1- Kenzie MacPhail (PCC) 2- Adam Lecours (GFR); 3- Marcellus Francis (GFR)
12:13 PCC Ben Mercer (9) ASST: Logan O’Neil (3)
14:01 GFR Marcellus Francis (1) ASST: Nicholas Brennan (3), Tate Brenner (1)
16:36 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (13) ASST: Jeremy Boulanger (12), Ethan Johnson (9) (PP)
18:40 PCC Nick Mahar (6) ASST: Ben Mercer (11), Kiefer Avery (6)