GRAND FALLS — Guided by a strong performance by goaltender Andrew Rose who made 33 saves, the Grand Falls Rapids did not miss their opportunity to impress their fans at their home opener, defeating the Edmundston Blizzard by a score of 2-1 Sunday afternoon at the E.&P. Senechal Centre.
An estimated crowd of 1400 spectators in attendance witnessed a great game with fine defensive play even though each team had very good scoring opportunities.
Conor MacLean will go into the record books as the first Rapids player to score in a regular season game. He gave his team the lead at 8:40 of the opening period after circling the Edmundston net, putting the puck behind goalie Ewan MacDonald with a backhand shot. Mac Mindus doubled the lead for the Rapids at 16:41 after receiving a great pass in the slot from linemate Jean-Simon Belanger.
No goals were scored in the middle frame as Andrew Rose stood tall, frustrating the Blizzard offense more than once. The Rapids even had to kill a two man disadvantage close to the midpoint in the period.
After pulling their goalie for a sixth attacker late in the third period, the Blizzard finally scored with Dallas Maurovic’s goal at 17:59. However, the home team came out victorious, winning their opening game of the MHL season.
Shots on goal favoured the Blizzard, 34-25.
After the game, the first star of the game, goalie Andrew Rose, wasn’t too disappointed of loosing the shutout bid.
“We had some lucky breaks at times during the game, so I am satisfied with only one goal allowed”, he mentioned.
Rose also pointed out the effort that was made by the Rapids’ organization in preparation for the start of the season in their new environment.
“The atmosphere is amazing and the fans seem to enjoy themselves a lot. The effort that was made by everyone already gives positive results”.
The two teams will meet again next Friday night, this time at the Jean-Daigle Centre in Edmundston. Puck drop will be at 7:30 pm.
Source: Patrick Thibault (Grand Falls Rapids)
GFR- Conor MacLean (Chris Melendez) 8:40
GFR- MacKenzie Mindus (Jean-Simon Bélanger; Kyle Anderson) 16:41
EDM- Dallas Maurovic (Gabriel Vanier) 17:59