The Rapids were in action on three occasions this past week, posting a record of 1 win and 2 losses. Despite being below the .500 mark, there were once again some very positive things that came out of those three contests.
To start things off, last Wednesday’s duel against the league leading Summerside Western Capitals was a statement made by Nick Tremere’s squad. Not only did they come up with the victory, but they also showed that they could battle against the big boys of the MHL from start to finish while keeping their poise throughout the game and being very disciplined. The Rapids were penalized only once and even though they couldn’t hold on to the lead in the third period, they found the energy and intensity needed to score the overtime winner with only 16 seconds of play into extra time.
Looking at Grand Falls play that night against the second ranked team in the nation at the time, it appeared as though the confidence level was very high and that whatever they did on the ice was accomplished with assuredness, leaving their opponents on their heels and without much cohesion on the offensive front. Goaltending was superb as Gio DiMattia stopped 32 shots, earning the game’s first star. Nico Laforge scored the winning goal on a two on one rush, his first as a Rapid.
Friday night’s game was a hard-fought battle in more ways than one against the pesky Valley Wildcats. The Rapids were behind by only one goal after two periods of play, but the visitors added three unanswered goals in the third to skate away with the win. In other words, the 5-1 final score did not necessarily demonstrate the effort that was poured in on the Rapids’ side.
The game was very chippy and it showed in penalty minute stats: 146 minutes in total, including 110 minutes in the third period alone. Morgan Kini made his first start in net for Grand Falls and he did very well despite the loss. The Rapids had some great opportunities around the opposing net, but Justin Bourque stood tall as he was named the game’s first star.
Then on a rare Monday afternoon contest on Family Day, the Rapids traveled to Campbellton to face a Tigers’ team that held a 7-point advantage over Grand Falls in the standings. Following a Covid outbreak amongst the team, the Tigers didn’t appear to have lost their focus after a few days off. In fact, they looked really good and outshot their opponents 43-24 while getting some good goaltending from newcomer Olivier Leclair who was making only his second start for the Tigers. Jeremie Hebert scored his first goal as a Tiger which was the game winner in the third period. To top things off, Zac Arsenault (1g) and Kyle Foreman were playing against their former team for the first time since the trade deadline.
Gio DiMattia was without a doubt the star of the game for the Rapids. He stopped 39 pucks, sometimes flashing the leather and leaving his opponents in awe following a spectacular save.
The Rapids held a 2-1 lead at one point, but let’s face the fact that the Tigers were the most opportunistic team in this contest, scoring twice with the man advantage while Grand Falls went 1 for 5 on the power play.
The Rapids will play their next game on the road on Friday night as they travel to Campbellton once again to play the Tigers for a 7pm start. Take note that Saturday night’s matchup against the Miramichi Timberwolves has been postponed due to Covid cases being reported on the Timberwolves’ team.
*The Rapids’ record now stands at 11 wins, 18 losses and 1 overtime defeat for a total of 23 points. They are 9 points back of the Campbellton Tigers for the final playoff spot in the Eastlink North division.
The Rapids are one of only three teams in the league to have played 30 games thus far. The other two are the Yarmouth Mariners and the Amherst Ramblers (30 games each).
*The Rapids have scored a total of 89 goals (7th in the league) and have allowed 129 goals (2nd highest total in the league).
*Grand Falls has a power play percentage of 17.7% (10th in the league) and a penalty kill efficiency of 81.3% (5th best record in the league).
*Dominic Leblanc leads all Rapids’ scorers with a record of 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points, which ranks him 6th in the MHL.
Yannic Bastarache is the team’s second leading scorer with 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points.
*Max Chisholm and Joachim Matulu both lead the team in power play goals with 3.
Three players have scored 1 shorthanded goal: Drew Johnston, Adam Fowlow and Dominic Leblanc.
Leblanc also leads the Rapids in game winning goals with 4.
*Gio DiMattia has a goals against average of 3.77 and a saves percentage of 0.896. He is among the 15 best in the league in that department in both categories.