TRURO (N.S.) – It was a valiant effort on the part of the Grand Falls Rapids on Saturday night in Truro, but the 6-game winning streak unfortunately came to an end as the Bearcats held on to a 2-1 victory.
The Rapids trailed 2-0 mid-way into the game, but they kept battling and came close to tying the score on several occasions. They were confronted with a a solid netminder in Jack Milner who led the way for the Bearcats with 38 saves.
Frédéric Plourde, who was facing his former team, also did very well between the pipes, blocking a total of 28 shots, including a penalty shot at the 13-minute mark of the third period.
The Rapids’ record now stands at 12 wins and 8 losses for a total of 24 points. It was only their 3rd loss of the season on the road. They still hold a very respectable record of 10 wins in their last 12 games.
After a first period that saw both teams have their momentum swings, it was apparent that this would become a goaltending duel and a tight defensive struggle. However, Truro did apply lots of sustained pressure at times in the opposing end, but the Rapids defended brilliantly, even dominating in shots on goal in every period but the third.
The first goal of the game came at 9:34 of the second period on a back hand shot from the slot by Kelsey Ouellet who gave the Bearcats a 1-0 lead. It was Ouellet’s 5th of the season, assisted by Landon Miron.
Only 61 seconds later, Truro doubled their lead on a two-on-one break. Sam Archibald sent a wrist shot over the glove of Frédéric Plourde at 10:35.
Momentum changed quickly however in the Rapids’ favour when they went on power play at the 16-minute mark of the middle frame. Former Bearcat Ben Diamond put Grand Falls on the board after he deflected a shot from Evan Bellamy sent from the point. It was Diamond’s 12th of the season and his 7th power play goal. Mathis Huot also assisted on the Rapids’ goal.
After two periods of play, Truro led 2-1 while Grand Falls dominated in shots on goal at that point, 27-16.
No goals were scored in the final frame as both goaltenders were ourstanding for their respective teams. They both received the first two stars of the contest. Frédéric Plourde kept the game close for Grand Falls after he stopped Bearcat forward Tanner Humber-Dredge on a penalty shot at 13:09.
The Rapids tried desperately to tie the score in the waning moments of the game, but the Bearcats held on for their division leading 14th victory of the season.
The Rapids will play one more game on the road next week before coming back on home ice for two weekend contests against divisional rivals. Wednesday night, Grand Falls travels to Miramichi to face the Timberwolves. Then on Friday night, the Rapids host the Fredericton Red Wings before clashing with the Edmundston Blizzard for a 3pm Sunday afternoon showdown at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre.
*The Rapids scored their 27th power play goal of the season on Saturday night. Summerside leads the Eastlink North division in PP goals thus far with 28.
*Grand Falls went 1 for 5 on the power play while Truro went scoreless in 4 PP opportunities.
*Game attendance: 724 spectators
*Three stars of the game: 1- Jack Milner (TRU) 2- Frédéric Plourde (GFR); 3- Sam Archibald (TRU)
9:34 TRU Kelsey Ouellet (2) ASST: Landon Miron (5)
10:35 TRU Sam Archibald (8) ASST: James Beaton (9)
16:19 GFR Ben Diamond (12) ASST: Evan Bellamy (16), Mathis Huot (11) (PP)