GRAND FALLS – Zach Bishop’s third period goal broke a 3-3 tie, giving the Fredericton Red Wings a 4-3 victory Friday night against the Rapids at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre in Grand Falls.
Bishop’s wrist shot found the back of the net at 3:34 of the final frame as the Red Wings won their 9th game of the season and are now 7 points ahead of the Rapids for fourth spot in the Eastlink North division standings.
For Grand Falls, it was a third consecutive loss as they remain at 14 points in the standings. With Campbellton’s victory on Friday night over the Valley Wildcats, the Rapids now trail the Tigers by 3 points for 5th position.
It all started well for the Rapids as they got on the board at the 5th minute of play of the opening period. Well positioned in front of Red Wings netminder Zachary Bridgeo, Jonah Leard took control of a loose puck following a scramble in front of the net, scoring his second of the season. Jules Delepoulle and Tristan Sanchez assisted on Grand Falls’ first tally of the night.
The Red Wings would answer back at 8:46 on a one-timer from Xzander Pierce, his first of the season.
But the Rapids regained the lead with less than 3 minutes remaining in the frame on Dominic LeBlanc’s first of the night and his 16th of the season. LeBlanc scored on a one-timer after receiving a cross-ice pass from linemate Jeremy Boulanger, giving the Rapids a 2-1 lead through twenty minutes of play.
Fredericton scored twice in the second period, taking a 3-2 lead. The Red Wings cashed in at 2:30 with the man advantage on Alex Roode’s 10th of the season, scored on a wrister from the face off circle. Carson Peer gave the visitors the lead at 13:25 on a brewakaway, beating Rapids’ goalkeeper Gio DiMattia.
However, the Rapids would also take advantage of a power play to tie the score late in the period. It was once again Dominic LeBlanc who found the back of the net, sending a screen shot that brought the game even at 3-3. It was also LeBlanc’s 17th goal of the season and his league-leading 8th power play goal.
After two periods of play, Fredericton held a 29 to 20 advantage in shots on goal.
The Rapids came close to tying the score in the third period after the Red Wings took the lead. With under 7 minutes to play, they had the opportunity to get things even as they went on a power play, but the Red Wings held on to secure the victory.
Gio DiMattia had a strong game between the pipes despite the loss, blocking 36 shots.
The Rapids will return to action on Sunday afternoon as they host the Campbellton Tigers (3pm). A victory would help them narrow the margin with the Tigers in the Eastlink North standings.
*Zach Bishop was the leading scorer for the Red Wings on Friday night with 1g 1a.
Dominic LeBlanc led the way for the Rapids with 2g while Jeremy Boulanger assisted on 2 goals.
*There were only three minor penalties in the game… the Red Wings scored once on the power play on only one PP opportunity while Grand Falls went 1 for 2 with the man advantage.
*Game attendance: 955
*Three stars of the game: 1- Zach Bishop (FRW); 2Dominic LeBlanc (GFR); 3- Alex Roode (FRW)
5:11 GFR Jonah Leard (2) ASST: Jules Delepoulle (13), Tristan Sanchez (1)
8:46 FRW Xzander Pierce (1) ASST: Sam MacFarlane (5), Zach Bishop (11)
17:33 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (16) ASST: Jeremy Boulanger (14), Tate Brenner (4)
2:30 FRW Alex Roode (10) ASST: Slava Melikov (16), Jake Tracey (8) (PP)
13:25 FRW Carson Peer (1) ASST: Cam Thomson (18)
17:15 GFR Dominic LeBlanc (17) ASST: Jeremy Boulanger (15), Ethan Johnson (14) (PP)
3:34 FRW Zach Bishop (3) ASST: Tyson Snow (2), Salem Johnson (10)