RAPIDS’ WEEKLY REPORT – December 21
The Rapids are entering the holiday break with a record of 10 wins, 15 losses and 1 overtime defeat for a total of 21 points. Vying for a playoff bid still remains a possibility as the team is 7 points behind the Campbellton Tigers for possession of 4th spot in the Eastlink North division standings.
However, some important decisions will have to be made in the upcoming weeks as to whether the Rapids’ will be active or not before the trade deadline. Some key figures may leave or other players will be added to the team via trade, which always constitutes a tough decision for the front office as they always have to put into consideration the future of the organization.
No matter what direction they will take, we still have to acknowledge the talent that this squad possesses despite being 5 games below the .500 mark. Draft picks from the last few seasons have integrated well to the team and some of them have become stalwarts to a lineup that had to go through a certain rebuild, especially on the defensive front. Young players have done their part in making a good impression even though it always remains a learning process. Veterans and players who have major junior experience have led the way despite the fact that injuries have sidelined a number of key elements, notably up front.
Goaltending has not been an issue; in fact, we can affirm without a doubt that it has been one of the team’s strengths. The penalty kill has been superb, even though it would be better not to talk too much about how great they are when they spend time in the penalty box. The power play has been an issue at times, but when things have gone better in that department, the team went on a roll and became very productive.
The Rapids have done what they could despite the strength of their division this season. Nothing has been easy as the first three teams in the Eastlink North standings have not lost more than 7 regulation games thus far this season. They have been outmatched against the league leading Summerside Western Capitals, dropping their last two matchups by decisive scores. Against everybody else, the Rapids have faired remarkably well, coming from behind more than once and battling hard until the very end.
If we just simply forget about Saturday night’s game, we can say that Friday night’s victory against Miramichi was a nice way to get into the holiday break. The Rapids played well, getting quickly on the board while getting a solid contribution defensively and of course, getting lots of help between the pipes. It was a 10th victory this season for Nick Tremere’s squad and a 7th on home ice. Let’s hope that more of this good stuff will come into the new year as the team looks to make a run for a playoff spot.
OTHER KEY STATS:
*The Rapids’ record on the road stands at 3 victories and 10 losses for 6 points. They have scored 30 goals while allowing 60 when they have played away from their home rink.
At the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre, the Rapids have a winning record of 7 wins, 5 losses and 1 overtime defeat for 15 points. They have scored 50 goals and have allowed a total of 54.
*Grand Falls is first in the league in penalty minutes with a total of 619 min. They are followed by the Summerside Western Capitals at 615 min.
The Rapids have a penalty kill percentage of 82.8%, which is 4th best in the league.
Their power play is at 18.5% which ranks 5th in the Eastlink North division.
Grand Falls has scored 20 PP goals thus far this season while adding 3 shorthanded tallies.
*Dominic Leblanc now ranks 4th in the MHL scoring race with a record of 18 goals and 21 assists for 39 points. Leblanc leads the league in game winning goals (4) and has 7 power play points to his credit (1g 6a).
Yannic Bastarache is the Rapids’ second leading scorer with 12g and 15a for 27pts. He is followed by Alexis Cournoyer and Zac Arsenault who have identical records of 6g and 11a for 17pts.
*Gio DiMattia has been in net for all 10 of the Rapids’ victories this season. His goals against average stands at 3.88 while his save percentage is at .698 in 1300 minutes of total work between the pipes.