GRAND FALLS, New Brunswick – The wind god Aeolus continues to blow at the back of the Edmundston Blizzard, who have once again done some damage. This time, it was the Grand Falls Rapids who got a taste of the Blizzard’s medicine, as they recorded their fifth consecutive triumph by disposing of their Northwest rival 6-3 on Friday evening at the E. & P. Sénéchal Centre, in front of a good crowd of 1,107 spectators.
The victory was hard-won by Simon Olivier’s men, who saw the Rapides show their teeth by reducing the gap to one goal (4-3) five minutes into the third period.
The game marked the return of goalie Samuel LeBlanc, who was particularly brilliant in the first two periods, turning aside 27 of the 28 pucks directed his way.
Félix Bédard and Carl-Anthony Massé had a goal and an assist each. Dominic LeBlanc, Darien Thomson, Peter Amanatidis and Philippe Collette also shook the ropes behind goaltender Will Hodgson.
The Rapids’ reply came from Ethan Johnson (1g, 1a), Jonah Leard (1g, 1a) and Nicholas Brennan.
The Rapids dominated 36-31 in the shots column.
The Blizzard were quick off the mark, scoring the first goal in the 30th second of play. Former Rapid Dominic LeBlanc converted a brilliant pass from Massé to beat goalkeeper Hodgson with ease. From that moment on, the Blizzard maintained their lead for the rest of the game.
The Blizzard led 2-0 and 4-1 after the first two assaults. The Rapids applied pressure early in the third period. They closed the gap to one goal and the Blizzard didn’t have it easy thereafter. With the score at 5-3, Collette finished things up for the Blizzard by scoring into an empty net.
The match was played under the sign of roughness. A total of 110 penalty minutes (56 to the Blizzard and 54 to the Rapids) were handed out by the referees, extending the game by several minutes.
Jérémy Fortin was proclaimed first star of the evening. Although he only had one assist, Fortin was dominant throughout the game. Ethan Johnson earned the second star, while Samuel LeBlanc received the third star.
The Blizzard (27-9-1-0) joined the Summerside Western Capitals (24-4-3-4) atop the overall MHL standings. Both teams have 55 points, but Summerside has two games in hand. In the Eastlink North division, the Blizzard now have a three-point lead over the West Kent Steamers (25-9-2-0 = 52pts).
Edmundston returns to the ice against Grand Falls next Friday (7:30 p.m.). This time, the game will be presented at the the Jean-Daigle Centre.
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Jérémy Fortin (20) put all the rubber on this shot in front of defenseman Marco LeBlanc (27). Fortin played a solid game, earning the evening’s first star. Photo Percy Picard
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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone