GRAND FALLS, New Brunswick – There is no doubt that the Edmundston Blizzard knew a big challenge awaited them at the E. & P. Sénéchal Center in Grand Falls on Sunday afternoon. Otherwise, they quickly learned that the Rapides were banking on other offensive talents than Dominic LeBlanc and Yannic Bastarache.
After upsetting the defending MHL champions, the Summerside Western Capitals, 2-1 on Friday, the Grand Falls Rapids did it again this afternoon by easily defeating the Blizzard 7-1.
Not that the Blizzard didn’t show up. Simon Olivier’s men instead came up against a young goalkeeper in full possession of all his means. The Blizzard even dominated in shots (31-28), but Joshua Fleming simply stopped everything in front of him. Strangely, it took a shot from behind the net to beat him in the third period. And to think that Fleming isn’t 18 yet…
After taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Rapids delivered the knockout blow in the next 20 minutes by building an insurmountable 6-0 lead.
Dominic LeBlanc, with two goals, Ben Diamond, Adam Redding, Thomas DeGagné, Cole MacWilliams and Mathis Huot scored for the Rapids (4-6-0-0). Mitchell McLeod avoided the shutout at 7:16 of the third period for the Blizzard (6-6-0-1).
The Rapids forwards were very opportunistic. Goaltender Samuel LeBlanc was pulled out after conceding a fifth goal in the 9th minute of play in the second period. His backup, Matthew Parker, relieved him and he allowed two goals on 11 shots in 31 minutes of work. Parker had been waiting for this very first game for a long time. The 18-year-old goaltender from Edmundston did well.
Fleming (1st), Redding (2nd) and Ian Dickie (3rd) were named the stars of the matchup.
Blizzard players will have a few days to practice and prepare for their next two clashes, which promise to be just as uneasy. Thursday and Friday, they will play against the Western Capitals (7-2-0-0) in Prince Edward Island.
– 30 –
Matthew Parker played his first game in the MHL on Sunday afternoon by replacing the starting goalie midway through the second period. Photo Percy Picard
– 30 –
Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone