RAPIDS’ WEEKLY REPORT – January 25th
As we are all waiting patiently for the MHL hockey season to resume, it is to wonder what the impact of such a prolonged pause will have on the league and its teams. Team chemistry might be greatly affected considering the fact that many new players have been added to the different squads following a very active trade deadline. It is to mention that none of them have yet had the opportunity to either play or even skate with their new teammates, which looks more like preparation for a training camp than it is normally the case at this point of the season. But then again, nothing can no longer be characterized as normal after what we’ve been through for the last two years and a half.
So how are the Rapids preparing for a hopeful return to action? Let’s say that the coaching staff needs to be creative as the current restrictions have made it impossible for the team to work as a unit on the ice.
I caught up with head coach Nick Tremere who explained how his staff was preparing the players and what the challenges will be once the regular schedule resumes.
1) How is the team preparing for a return to play?
“Unfortunately, the team cannot skate together yet, but this is something that every team in New Brunswick is dealing with, so we are not alone in that situation.
We currently meet with the players 3-4 times per week with a guest presenter covering a variety of topics. The team also meets 4-5 times per week for a live workout together with our trainer Mackenzie Cox. From a coaching standpoint, Morgan (MacDonald) and myself are spending time planning our practices, workouts, and our skill development schedule so that we can use what time we have when we do return to the ice as efficiently as possible”.
2) What are the challenges you will be facing once play resumes?
“I think our biggest challenges when we do return to the ice will be creating chemistry amongst our players and the new additions.
Making sure we take the time to see where guys fit and who’s strengths work well together will be important.
To be honest, it’s difficult to view any part of our return to the ice as a challenge as all our players and staff are excited to return. That excitement always brings a high level of energy and competition when we step back on the ice together.”
So for now, the only thing left to do for the coaches and players alike is wait… and hope that we can finally complete the season under the best possible circumstances.
TEAM NEWS AND STATS
*Since the trade deadline (beginning in January), the Rapids have added 7 new players to the team, including 5 forwards.
New players joining the organization are forwards Joakim Bergeron, Nicholas Brennan, Dominic Deschênes, Nicola Laforge, Ben Alchorn as well as defenseman William Theberge and goaltender Morgan Kini.
Leaving the Rapids are forwards Kyle Foreman and Shane Delaney, defenseman Zac Arsenault and goaltender Dekon Randall-Snow.
Foreman, Arsenault and Randall-Snow will be joining the Campbellton Tigers while Delaney will now suit up for the South Shore Lumberjacks.
*The Rapids’ record on the road thus far this season 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 .893 in 1300 minutes of total work between the pipes.