There is some good news and some bad news surrounding the Rapids this week as the regular season is winding down to the last stretch of games.
On the bad side, the Rapids have now dropped 7 of their last 8 games on the schedule, which comes at a crucial time in the hope of making a playoff run. They are now 14 points back of the Miramichi Timberwolves in the Eastlink North standings, which is the team they are chasing for 4th position.

Despite those stats, the team is working hard and being rewarded at times for their hard work and effort, as it was the case last week in a 4-3 victory in Summerside against one of the top teams in the league. From start to finish, the Rapids battled hard and never quit. Dominic LeBlanc scored the game winning goal mid-way in the third period to break a 3-3 tie.

Greg Leland’s squad also competed well on the road last Thursday in Fredericton, but the Rapids came up short with a 3-2 loss in the shootout frame.
Last Sunday’s loss was tough to swallow as the Rapids jumped to an early 3-0 lead against Campbellton before seeing the Tigers score five unanswered goals as they won the contest by a score of 5-3.
Then on Tuesday night in Miramichi, which was considered a must-win for Grand Falls, it just wasn’t meant to be as the Timberwolves came out of the gate with 5 goals in the opening period. The Rapids could never recover and were defeated by a margin of seven goals.

With 11 games remaining on the schedule, the Rapids will certainly have to put together a winning streak if they have any hope of getting back into the playoff picture. The good news however is that they do play the Timberwolves three more times before the end of the regular season, including this upcoming Saturday, once again in Miramichi.

There have been some positives on the offensive side as Dominic Leblanc and Yannic Bastarache have been producing regularly on the scoring sheet. Tomasz Szczerba also made his debut in a Rapids’ uniform on Tuesday night, starting the game alongside of Josh Russell and Ben Diamond who have also been very productive for the past month.

The Rapids will try to put behind them the loss to Miramichi and concentrate on what lies ahead on the schedule. They will host the Amherst Ramblers on Friday night at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre before clashing once again with the Timberwolves on Saturday night.
All is not lost… the players have proven that they are no quitters and if they can put together a winning streak, it still remains possible to climb into the standings and fight for that 4th spot.

Patrick Thibault

*The Rapids’ record now stands at 17 wins, 23 regulation losses and 1 shootout defeat for a total of 35 points. They trail Miramichi by 14 points for 4th spot in the Eastlink North division standings and with two games in hand and three more games remaining on the schedule against the Timberwolves.

Grand Falls has a record of 8 wins and 11 losses on home ice this season and a record of 9-12-1 on the road.

The Edmundston Blizzard still hold top spot in the division with 55 points, 1 point better than the Campbellton Tigers who sit in second spot with 54 points. Summerside is not far behind with 53 points.

*In the Eastlink South, the Yarmouth Mariners have an impressive record of 33 wins and only 9 losses on the season as they total 67 points. That is 19 points better than the team holding second spot in the division, the Truro Bearcats. Yarmouth is actually the only team thus far in the league that has secured a playoff spot.
Teams that follow in order in the Eastlink South division standings are: Valley, Pictou County, Amherst and South Shore.

*The Rapids have the 4th best power play efficiency in the league at 26.8%. The team has scored a total of 42 power play goals, which is also the 4th best mark in the MHL.
Yannic Bastarache is tied for second in the league with 12 PP goals while Ben Diamond is third on the list with 11. Dominic LeBlanc is not far behind with 9 PP goals to his credit, which is good for 8th spot in that department.

*Yannic Bastarache remains in 10th position among the league’s leading scorers with a record of 25 goals and 33 assists for 58 points.
Ben Diamond is 20th on the MHL scoring list with 22 goals and 25 assists for 47 points.

*Next games on the schedule:
Friday February 17: Amherst vs Rapids (7:30 pm at the CEPS)
Saturday February 18: Rapids vs Miramichi (7:00 pm)