GRAND FALLS – Mitchell McLeod broke a 2-2 tie early in the third period, sending the Edmundston Blizzard to a 5-2 victory Wednesday night in Grand Falls.
It was McLeod’s 12th tally of the season and the second power play goal of the game for the Blizzard.
Jérémy Duguay, Peter Amanatidis, Jacob Long and Austin Paul completed the scoring for Edmundston.
Yannic Bastarache got on the board twice for the Rapids, his 13th and 14th goals of the season.
The best player on the ice on Wednesday night was without a doubt Blizzard goaltender Simon Couroux who stopped 40 pucks, leaving the Rapids’ players very frustrated at times.
Trailing 3-2 at the mid-way point of the third period, the Rapids had a great opportunity to tie the score as they were playing with a 5-minute man advantage. However, Couroux held his ground and Edmundston’s defensive corps was solid in front, shutting the door to their opponents who sent a total of 16 shots on net in the period.
It was an 18th victory for the Blizzard this season and a 21st loss for the Rapids. Grand Falls remains 8 points back of the Campbellton Tigers for 4th spot in the Eastlink North division standings.
The Rapids’ record now stands at 12 wins, 20 regulation losses and 1 overtime defeat for a total of 25 points. Grand Falls is the only team in the league to have played thus far 33 games on the schedule.
Only 13 shots in total were registered in the opening period as the Rapids led 8 to 5 in that department after twenty minutes of play.
It was a defensive affair as both teams could not gain any momentum on the offensive side.
The Blizzard did however get on the board with only 17 seconds remaining in the frame, scoring on their second power play opportunity of the period. Coming in from the faceoff circle, Ben Lightbody fed a perfect pass in front to Jeremy Duguay who found the back of the net on a one-timer. It was a 9th goal for Duguay this season.
It took only 1 minute of play into the second period for the Rapids to tie the score. Following a turnover in the neutral zone, they came into Blizzard territory on an odd man rush. Yannic Bastarache was credited with the goal, his first of the night, as the puck hit off an Edmundston player and slid under goaltender Simon Couroux.
The Blizzard regained the lead at 14:41 on a tipped shot in front by Peter Amanatidis.
Grand Falls came back quickly though, 24 seconds later to be exact. Well positioned close to the net, Yannic Bastarache slid the puck past the Blizzard netminder for his second goal of the game and his 14th of the season.
The Rapids led in shots on goal in the second (18 to 6) even though they were the most penalized team in the period.
The Blizzard took advantage of another power play early in the third period. Mitchell MacLeod scored on a rebound from the faceoff dot at 2:32, giving the visitors a 3-2 lead.
Jacob Long (at 16:11) and Austin Paul (empty net) completed the scoring for the Blizzard in the third period.
The highlight of the period was the major penalty to Edmundston that sent the Rapids on a 5-minute power play at the mid-way point of the frame. The Blizzard held off their opponents and proceeded to add two more goals to seal the victory.
It was the final time that the two Northwestern rivals were to face each other during the regular season.
The Rapids will return to action on Friday night as they host the Summerside Western Capitals at 7:30 pm at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre.
GAME NOTES :
* Jérémy Duguay led the way offensively for the Blizzard with 1 goal and 1 assist while Yannic Bastarache also finished the game with 2 points for Grand Falls, scoring his 13th and 14th goals of the season.
*Edmundston finished the game 2 for 5 on the power play. The Rapids did not score with the man advantage in three tries.
*Three stars of the game: 1- Simon Couroux (EDM); 2- Yannic Bastarache (GFR); 3- Brendan Sibley (EDM)
*Game attendance: 615 spectators