PICTOU COUNTY – During a tight and very intense contest from the beginning to the very end, the Grand Falls Rapids had a great start to their MHL Showcase played in Nova Scotia by defeating the Pictou County Weeks Crushers by a a score of 2-1 on Monday night.
The Rapids ended a two game skid, winning for a 4th time during the regular season against 3 losses.
After a first five minutes of play with no team showing any dominance on the ice, it was the Rapids who finally scored with two unanswered goals. Jean-Simon Bélanger served a perfect pass to Chris Melendez who didn’t miss the opportunity to put his team in front. That first goal was registered at 7:44 as Melendez slid the puck behind the goalie with a backhand shot after he cut in front of the net.
Bélanger was also responsible for the second tally when his quick shot beat the Weeks Crushers’ goaltender at 10:53 to give the Rapids a 2-0 advantage. It was Bélanger’s 4th goal of the season.
The home team reduced the margin however when on a two on one break, Evan Gallant scored his team’s first and only goal of the game at 12:54.
Rapids’ goalie Andrew Rose was very much responsible for keeping his team in front, making three key saves in the waning moments of the first 25 minute period. He shut the door on two occasions as a Weeks Crushers’ player was standing close to the net both times. Rose faced 13 shots in that opening frame compared to 10 for Pictou County goaltender Matthew Normore.
There were no goals registered in the second and final period of play but the action was intense as both teams had good opportunities to add to the scoring. Both goaltenders were solid, shutting the door when it mattered most.
The Rapids almost added a third goal to their credit as Chris Melendez’ backhand shot hit the post while he found himself on a breakaway when coming out of the penalty box.
The Weeks Crushers tried to tie the score at the very end, pulling their goaltender for a sixth attacker. However, Andrew Rose and his defensive unit stood tall to give the Rapids a much needed win.
Rose was not the only defensive player to shine for the Rapids in the game; defenseman Matthew Mackay was solid at the blueline as he spent many minutes on the ice.
Offensively, Jean-Simon Bélanger took part in his team’s two goals with a 1 goal and 1 assist performance.
Grand Falls dominated in shots on goal in the contest, 26 –24.
The Rapids will play their next game of the MHL Showcase on Tuesday afternoon (1pm) when their opponents will be the East Link South division leaders, the Yarmouth Mariners.
Source: Patrick Thibault (Grand Falls Rapids)
1st period :
GFR- Chris Melendez (2) (Jean-Simon Bélanger; Dawson Wood) 7 :44
GFR- Jean-Simon Bélanger (4) (Kyle Anderson) 10 :53
PCC- Evan Gallant (1) (Dylan Riley; Evan MacLennan) 12:54
2nd period :