GRAND FALLS – Guided by a great defensive effort and the return of their captain Jérémy Boulanger, the Grand Falls Rapids earned an impressive 2-1 victory Friday night on home ice against their division rivals, the Fredericton Red Wings.
It was a seventh matchup this season between the two teams as Grand Falls now holds a 4-3 advantage.
It was indeed a solid performance by the Rapids’ defensive corps as they blocked numerous shots and avoided traffic in front of Adam Lecours who was also at his best between the pipes. Lecours stopped 27 shots, earning his 9th victory of the season.
Grand Falls did outshoot the Red Wings in this game, 30 to 28.
Boulanger’s return to the lineup was a difference-maker. Not only was the power play more impressive in his presence, but transition from one zone to the next was quick and efficient.
The Rapids’ captain was even the first to score in the contest, an unassisted goal coming at 17:37 of the opening period. After the puck was stolen from a Red Wings’ defender, Boulanger came in on a breakaway and got a shot past goalkeeper Yacine Chemrouk to give Grand Falls the lead. For the Sherbrooke (Quebec) native, it was goal number 13 on the season.
Then at 18:43, the Rapids added a second goal on Ethan Johnson’s wrist shot from the faceoff circle, his 10th of the season.
After twenty minutes of play, the Rapids held a 2-0 lead and a 10 to 8 advantage in the shots on goal department.
It was another tight checking performance from both sides in the second period as only one goal was scored. Fredericton took advantage of a power play to get on the board at 7:34 on a one-timer from Jared Cosman.
The Rapids could not capitalize on a two-man advantage close to the mid-way point of the period, which kept the game at 2-1 through two periods of play.
Forward Cole MacWilliam did however have to leave the game in the second period after blocking a shot in the opening frame.
The Rapids slightly dominated the third period in shots on goal, 10 to 9. Adam Lecours made the important saves at the right time and Grand Falls held on for the victory, their 11th of the season.
The Rapids now total 25 points on the season and are 7-points back of the Campbellton Tigers for 5th spot in the Eastlink North division standings.
Both teams will face off Sunday afternoon at 3pm at the Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre.
*Devin Johnson and Damian Metastasio both picked up an assist on the Rapids’ second goal of the game.
*Fredericton scored once on their lone PP opportunity.
The Rapids went scoreless on the power play in 5 tries.
*Game attendance: 863
*Three stars of the game: 1- Adam Lecours (GFR); 2- Jérémy Boulanger (GFR); 3- Will Morrison (GFR)
17:37 GFR Jeremy Boulanger (13) ASST: None
18:43 GFR Ethan Johnson (10) ASST: Damian Metastasio (9), Devin Johnson (6)
7:34 FRW Jared Cosman (2) ASST: Carter McCluskey (43), Cam Thomson (28) (PP)