GRAND FALLS – The Summerside Western Capitals scored two power play goals, including the game winner in the third period, as they defeated the Rapids by a score 3-2 Friday night at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre. It was a special night in Grand Falls as the Rapids’organization celebrated the 50th anniversary of Ron Turcotte’s triple crown victory with his horse Secretariat, a feat that will be remembered forever in Canadian sports history. Grand Falls’ players wore special jerseys for the occasion.
Trentyn Crane found the back of the net on two occasions, his 30th and 31st goals of the season, while Ed McNeill completed the scoring for Summerside. Ben Diamond was the only Rapids’ player to score, tallying his 24th and 25th goals of the campaign.
As it was the case throughout most of the season, the Rapids made it tough for the Western Capitals to earn those precious two points in the standings. However, the Rapids came up short and at the same time, were officially eliminated from playoff contention with Miramichi’s victory on Friday night over the Fredericton Red Wings.
Grand Falls came out strong in the opening period and dominated puck possession for most of the first half of the frame. The pace was fast and the Rapids took advantage of an early power play to get on the board. Ben Diamond took control of a rebound in from of the Summerside net to give his team a 1-0 lead at 2:43. Tomasz Szczerba and Yannic Bastarache both earned an assist on Diamond’s 24th goal of the season.
The Rapids had a huge advantage in shots on goal early on, but the Western Capitals had momentum on their side in the second part of the period. Shots on goal after the first twenty minutes of play were 14 to 13 in favour of the Rapids.
Summerside scored twice in the middle frame to take the lead. Ed McNeill found an open net at the far side of the post, beating Rapids’ netminder Charles-Antoine Julien at 4:32. Then at 11:05, while Summerside was playing with the man advantage, Trentyn Crane sent a wrist shot from the faceoff circle that found the back of the net, giving the visitors a 2-1 edge.
Crane added his second goal of the contest at 10:03 of the third period on a great rush into Rapids’ territory. After going by a defenseman with speed, Crane beat Julien over the shoulder to give the Western Capitals a two-goal lead.
The Rapids reduced the margin to 3-2 with only 26 seconds remaining on another goal from Ben Diamond, also on a rebound in front of Summerside goaltender Chad Arsenault.
The goal came too late however as the Rapids’ playoff hopes were officially dashed for this season.
The final tally in shots on goal was 38 to 35 for Summerside.
The Rapids will play their next home game this Sunday as they host the Pictou County Weeks Crushers at 3pm at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre.
*Besides Trenty Crane’s 2 goals on Friday night, Ed McNeill finished the game with 1g and 2a for Summerside while Sid McNeill picked up 2a.
Ben Diamond led the way offensively for Grand Falls with 2 goals.
*The Western Capitals were perfect on the power play, scoring 2 goals on 2 PP opportunities. The Rapids scored 1 goal in 4 tries.
*Game attendance: 884 spectators
*Three stars of the game: 1- Trentyn Crane (SWC); 2- Ed McNeill (SWC); 3- Charles-Antoine Julien (GFR)
2:43 GFR Ben Diamond (24) ASST: Tomasz Szczerba (1), Yannic Bastarache (34) (PP)
4:32 SWC Ed McNeill (13) ASST: Connor Keough (18), Sid McNeill (35)
11:05 SWC Trentyn Crane (30) ASST: Ed McNeill (53), Sid McNeill (36) (PP)
10:03 SWC Trentyn Crane (31) ASST: Ed McNeill (54), Chad Arsenault (3) (PP)
19:44 GFR Ben Diamond (25) ASST: Mathis Huot (23), Dominic LeBlanc (21)