The Rapids’ winless streak is now at 6 games, which leaves them with a tough task ahead to try to catch up with Campbellton and Fredericton in the standings.
It was another tough weekend for Greg Leland’s squad as they lost to both the Tigers and the Red Wings while getting the shorter end of a 2-1 loss on Sunday against the Amherst Ramblers.
On Friday, it was a late power play goal that prevented Grand Falls to earn at least 1 point and stay close to the Tigers in the standings. Then on Saturday night, the Red Wings skated away with a 5-0 shutout victory thanks to 32 saves from Yacine Chemrouk who was making his first start for Fredericton.
Of course, scoring has been an issue lately. Grand Falls sits last in the league in goals scored with 71, which represents an average of 3g per game. Defensively, the team has been solid despite a revamped unit. Meanwhile, the effort on the ice reflects on the attendance at the games as fans do appreciate the hard work.
We have however come to the time of making some tough and important decisions as to what lies ahead for this squad. Already, netminder Gio DiMattia has requested a trade. We do wish Gio all the best of luck with whatever team he will join. He was a fan favorite in Grand Falls and showed his true talent.
Acquired last week via trade, Will Hodgson will join Adam Lecours in completing the goaltending duo for the rest of the season.
Other last year junior eligible players might also leave the team in the next few weeks if the Rapids decide to go in that direction… or other players will be added in the hope of trying to reach that elusive playoff spot in the Eastlink North.
There is always hope that things can turn around. The new month always brings a refreshed outlook. The Rapids will play six more games this month, including four against teams within their own division.
It all continues on Thursday as the Rapids make a short trip to Edmundston to meet the Blizzard for a 7:30 pm start at the Jean-Daigle Centre. Then on Saturday, they travel to PEI to play the Summerside Western Capitals.
The Rapids’ next home game will be on December 15th as the visitors will be the Miramichi Timberwolves.
TEAM NEWS AND STATS:
*The Rapids have allowed 95 goals this season. Three teams from the South division and two from the North have allowed more goals thus far this season.
The Rapids are also 4th in their division in penalty minutes (372 min.), 4th on power play efficiency (20,5%) and 6th in the penalty kill (72,7%).
Their home record stands at 3 wins, 7 losses and 2 shootout losses for 8 points. On the road, Grand Falls has a record of 4 wins, 7 losses and 1 shootout loss for 9 points.
*Dominic LeBlanc continues to lead the team in scoring with a record of 17 goals and 10 assists for 27 points. His linemates Jérémy Boulanger (5g 19a 24pts) and Ethan Johnson (7g 15a 22pts) are respectively second and third in points.
*LeBlanc also leads the team in power play goals with 8, shorthanded goals (2) and in winning goals (2).
Jérémy Boulanger leads the Rapids in power play points with 12.
*Adam Lecours is 4th in the league in goals-against average with 3.05 and 7th in save percentage with 0.905.
Will Hodgson, acquired last week via trade, made his Rapids’ debut last Sunday as he allowed only 2 goals to the Amherst Ramblers, making 23 saves.
NEWS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE:
*The West Kent Steamers have a 4-point lead over the Edmundston Blizzard in the Eastlink North division standings. The Steamers have 36 points to their credit, followed in order by: Edmundston (32pts), Miramichi (30pts), Fredericton (27pts), Campbellton (21pts) while the Rapids are 6th with 17 points.
In the Eastlink South division, the Summerside Western Capitals lead the way with 37 points, followed by Yarmouth (32pts). They are followed in order by: Amherst (26pts), Pictou County (25pts), Truro (23pts) and the Valley Wildcats with 10pts.
*Carter McCluskey (22g 22a 44pts) of the Truro Bearcats still leads this week in the MHL scoring race.
Blake Eastman of Summerside is second with 18g 24a for 42pts, followed by a tie between Alexis Daniel of West Kent (23g 17a 40pts) and Nick Mahar of Pictou County (15g 25a 40pts).
*Olivier Dallaire of the West Kent Steamers has regained the lead among goaltenders with the best goals-against average. Dallaire has an average of 2.26 while Nicholas Sheehan of the Edmundston Blizzard is second with an average of 2.31.
THE RAPIDS UPCOMING SCHEDULE:
*Thursday December 7: Rapids at Edmundston (7:30 pm)
*Saturday December 9: Rapids at Summerside (7:00 pm)