GRAND FALLS – The Miramichi Timberwolves won their 11th game of the season on Friday night in Grand Falls, defeating the Rapids by a score of 5-2 in front of 1034 fans assembled at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre.
Mitchell Wagner scored twice for the Timberwolves who never trailed in the contest. Tristan Sanchez and Cole MacWilliam replied for Grand Falls who now falls one game below the .500 mark for the season.
Miramichi outshot the Rapids 32 to 28.
The Timberwolves showed early on why they were a team to be reckoned with this season, playing solid defense with great forechecking and throwing the body when necessary. They also demonstrated great speed up front, which kept the Rapids on their heels in the opening period of play.
Miramichi took a 1-0 lead at 12:27 with Jeremy Duhamel’s power play tally, scored on a one-timer. The Timberwolves took a 2-0 lead with less than 3 minutes remaining in the opening frame when Reese Allen slid the puck between the pads of Rapids’ netminder Adam Lecours. Travis Badcock assisted on the goal, sending a perfect pass in front to Allen who scored his 2nd goal of the season.
The Timberwolves dominated the first twenty minutes of play in the shots on goal department, 17 to 7.
There were only two goals scored in the second period, but both happened very quickly. The Timberwolves took a 3-0 lead following a scramble in front of the net, won by Mitchell Wagner who was the stronger player to take control of the puck. It was Wagner’s first of the night. The goal came at 11:05 while the Rapids got on the board less than a minute later on Tristan Sanchez’ 3rd tally of the season on a cross-ice pass from Jules Delepoulle. Sanchez sent a one-timer behind Timberwolves’ goalie Niko Boudreau, reducing Miramichi’s lead to only two goals.
The Rapids made it 3-2 early in the third. A Timberwolves’ defender tried to clear the front of the crease, but the puck hit Cole MacWilliam who was well positioned in front. MacWilliam was credited with his 2nd goal of the season at 2:17.
The Timberwolves would however regain a two-goal cushion by scoring on the power play at 11:05. Will Allen’s shot from the point was deflected in front by Ludovic Dufort.
Then at 14:41, Mitchell Wagner scored his second of the game following a two-on-one break, bringing the final score to 5-2.
The game got physical at times, which could have an impact on Saturday’s contest as both teams get ready to meet again, this time in Miramichi’ home rink. Game time is at 7:00 pm.
*Mitchell Wagner (2g), Tyler Totten (2a) and Will Allen (2a) all picked up 2 points for the Timberwolves.
*Still missing in the lineup for the Rapids was forward Jeremy Boulanger who will be eligible to return on Sunday following a 3-game suspension.
*Miramichi scored twice on the power play on 3 PP opportunities.
The Rapids were kept scoreless on 6 PP tries.
*Game attendance: 1034
*Three stars of the game: 1- Mitchell Wagner (MIR); 2- Jules Delepoulle (GFR); 3- Will Allen (MIR)
12:27 MIR Jeremy Duhamel (5) ASST: Will Allen (11) (PP)
17:05 MIR Reese Allen (2) ASST: Travis Badcock (8)
11:36 MIR Mitchell Wagner (4) ASST: Tyler Totten (7)
12:05 GFR Tristan Sanchez (3) ASST: Jules Delepoulle (9)
2:17 GFR Cole MacWilliam (2) ASST: Ty Hunter (4), Bryce Thomson (3)
11:05 MIR Ludovic Dufort (12) ASST: Will Allen (12) (PP)
14:41 MIR Mitchell Wagner (5) ASST: Tyler Totten (8), Liam Travis (5)