The Rapids finished their regular season on home ice during the past week, posting a .500 record, the same as their overall performance at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre during the 2021-2022 MHL campaign.
As mentioned in previous reports, it is hard to analyze a season that was marred by stoppages due to Covid 19 complications and the fact that the actual team now has a different look heading into the home stretch. The additions made at the trade deadline were very favorable to the needs surrounding the team and the energy and excitement deployed on the ice have given the fans a product that is very refreshing to watch.
Nick Tremere’s squad will finish off its season on the road this week for three games, beginning with a pair of contests in Nova Scotia on Wednesday and Thursday. Even though there are no playoff implications at stake, there is still lots to prove for the returning players who would like to end their campaign on a positive note. Once the last game is played, it will then be time to think about what awaits the team next season, which appears to be very promising.
The Truro Bearcats were in town last Wednesday and they showed why their record in the Eastlink South was no fluke. They played a very aggressive game on the defensive end, blocking numerous shots and making things hard for the Rapids to generate any sort of sustained offense. St.Leonard native Frédéric Plourde was brilliant between the pipes for the Bearcats, blocking 32 shots as his team skated away with a 3-1 victory.
Dominic Leblanc gave the Rapids an early lead in the contest with his 22nd tally of the season, but Truro came back with three unanswered goals, including a pair in the final period of play.
It was however a much different story for the Rapids on Friday night before a crowd of 767 spectators who came to see their favorites play their last home game of the season. It was also a night to remember for the 20-year-old players in more ways than one. After being properly introduced before the contest began, they played their best and largely contributed to the 4-0 shutout victory over the visiting Amherst Ramblers.
Morgan Kini, a late addition to the team this season who has stood out brilliantly between the pipes, registered his second shutout of the season and his first as a Grand Falls’ Rapid. Joakim Bergeron (2g 1a) and Drew Johnston (1g 1a) who like Kini were playing their last home game as 20-year-olds, led the way for the Rapids’ 13th victory of the season and their 9th on home ice.
It was a hard-fought contest as it became more physical in the third period with the Rapids comfortably ahead in the score. Kini stopped all 28 shots he faced, and his defense played a strong game in front of him.
As mentioned, the Rapids hit the road for a Wednesday night contest in Truro (7pm) before playing in Pictou County the following night (7pm). Their last game of the season will be played on Sunday afternoon at the Grant-Harvey Centre in Fredericton against the hometown Red Wings at 2pm.
*Grand Falls’ record this season is now at 13 wins, 21 regulation time losses and 2 extra time defeats for a total of 28 points in 36 games.
They are ranked 5th in the Eastlink North division standings.
The team is also 5th in its division in goals scored (111) and goals against (155).
*The Rapids are ranked 10th in the league in power play efficiency (16.3%) and 8th in the penalty kill department with a percentage of 79.5%.
*Among the MHL’s leading scorers, Dominic Leblanc sits in 7th spot with a record of 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points. Yannic Bastarache, the team’s second leading point-getter, is ranked 17th in the league with 17 goals and 20 assists for 37 points.
Joakim Bergeron is 20th on the list with 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points.
*Goaltending has been a key factor to the Rapids’ play lately. Gio DiMattia has a save percentage of .894 with 11 wins between the pipes and a goals against average of 3.79.
Morgan Kini’s average is at 4.36 with 4 wins on the season and a save percentage of .894, which is the same as DiMattia.
*The Summerside Western Capitals have the league’s best record at 29-4-2 for a total of 60 points. The Yarmouth Mariners, who sit atop the Eastlink South division, is the second team with the best record in the league at 22-8-3 for 47 points.