The Rapids put an end on Tuesday night to a 6-game winless streak, thanks to a great team effort from beginning to end.
Even though playoff hopes have been officially put aside for this season, Greg Leland’s squad played with great intensity and received some good contribution from their top line, as well as a solid performance from their goaltender.
There have been some positives of course this season. Sometimes, we tend to look only at the end result as a way to measure success. However, the process of trying to get better also has to be considered and despite the ups and downs that the team had to go through this season, there a few elements of their game that the team has gotten better at.
Let’s start with penalty minutes… Grand Falls was the most penalized team during the 2021-2022 campaign, but there has been a major turnaround this season as the Rapids are currently the least penalized team in the MHL.
Defensive play has also been better while offensively, there has been some major progression with the power play unit.
We cannot say that effort was missing from game to game; injuries to key players and sudden departures did not help, and let’s not forget that the Rapids had to play this season in a very tough division. Actually, during the month of February, all teams from the Eastlink North division besides the Rapids had a winning record. That explains why the team has fallen back in the standings in a matter of only a few weeks.
What needs to be done for next season is in the hands of the team administration and the coaching staff. Head coach Greg Leland wants to focus on a strong performance from his team in the next few weeks:
“We are looking to finish the season on a positive note in terms of playing each game with a high compete level and winning as many games as possible. It’s why we play, the challenge of competition while pursuing excellence”.
It will be a busy weekend as the Rapids play three games in three days.
Friday night, they will host the Miramichi Timberwolves at 7:30pm at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre. Saturday, the team travels to Fredericton for a 7pm contest against the Red Wings. Then on Sunday afternoon, back on home ice, the Rapids will host the Campbellton Tigers (3pm).
*Over the past 10 games, the Rapids have a record of 2 wins, 7 regulation losses and 1 shootout defeat. Their overall record now stands at 18 wins, 26 losses and 1 shootout defeat for a total of 37 points.
They have 7 games left on the schedule, including 4 home games. The Rapids’ season will end on Monday March 13th as they host the Amherst Ramblers in a make-up game.
Grand Falls has a record of 9 wins and 13 losses on home ice this season and a record of 9-13-1 on the road.
*As for the individual stats, Yannic Bastarache is 12th in the MHL scoring race with a record of 25 goals and 38 assists for 63 points.
Ben Diamond is the Rapids’ second leading scorer with 25 goals and 28 assists for 53 points.
Dominic LeBlanc is third with 24 goals and 21 assists for 45 points.
All three of them are the only players on the team to have reached the 20-goal plateau this season.
*The Edmundston Blizzard still hold top spot in the division with 69 points. Four teams from the Eastlink North have clinched a playoff spot: Besides the Blizzard, Summerside, Campbellton and Miramichi will play in the first round of the playoffs.
*In the Eastlink South, the Yarmouth Mariners have the league’s best record at 36 wins, 9 losses and 1 extra time defeat for a total of 74 points. The Mariners, as well as the Truro Bearcats and the Valley Wildcats, have clinched a playoff spot. The 4th and final spot in the division is still up for grabs.
*Yarmouth is currently ranked 12th in the CJHL weekly rankings while Edmundston has jumped one spot to is 18th on the list.
*Next games on the schedule:
Friday March 3rd: Miramichi vs Rapids (7:30 pm at the CEPS)
Saturday March 4th: Rapids at Fredericton (7:00 pm)
Sunday March 5th: Campbellton vs Rapids (3:00 pm at the CEPS)