EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick – Evening full of emotions Saturday at the Jean-Daigle Centre. The Edmundston Blizzard turned a 2-1 deficit in the last two minutes into a 4-2 win over the Pictou County Weeks Crushers who couldn’t believe they just lost two precious points.
After reserving a huge ovation at the start of the game to former Blizzard Maxime Grandmaison, who was in the crowd to support his Weeks Crushers, the Blizzard had a solid first period. But the locals were frustrated many times by former Blizzard goalkeeper Ewan MacDonald, who limited the damage.
The first period ended in a 1-1 tie. Paul Leroux for the Blizzard (at 6:44) and Keenan Gillis for the Weeks Crushers (at 19:11) found the back of the net.
In the second period, Pictou County dominated and took the lead at the 24th second thanks to Jaden Mason who beat goalkeeper Antoine Lyonnais.
The Weeks Crushers closed the center to Blizzard attackers who struggled to orchestrate anything valuable offensively. With just over two minutes to go, Blizzard head coach Emery Olauson made a smart decision that paid off by taking a timeout and explaining strategy for the next seconds to come.
Trailing 2-1, Olauson decided to pull his goalkeeper in favor of an attacker. Sniper Chrystopher Collin (38th) lifted the crowd of 2,770 spectators from their seat by scoring the tying goal at 18:01. And, barely the time of a breath, the Blizzard struck 13 seconds later thanks to Paul Leroux’s second goal of the game, his 12th of the season. Curously, Leroux and goalie MacDonald lived with the same billet family in the first half of the season in Edmundston. Behind 3-2, Pictou County pulled their goalie and Jérémy Duguay closed the books by scoring with about a tenth of a second left.
Leroux (1st), Collin (2nd) and Gillis (3rd) were selected the stars of the game. The Blizzard led 32-27 in shots.
At the first stoppage at the start of the game, an emotional tribute was paid to Maxime Grandmaison who suffered a serious head injury during a game in Amherst on February 1st. Grandmaison gained sympathy throughout the MHL following his unfortunate and accidental injury that could have cost him his life. He’s fine now. He knows his recovery will be long and nothing would make him happier than going back in action. But he is not without knowing he will have to be patient in this long healing process.
The Blizzard (33-9-1-7) has only two games left on its 52-game schedule: Wednesday, March 4 in Campbellton, 27-16-3-2 (7 pm) and Friday, March 6 in Edmundston against Fredericton, 26-18-4-1 (7:30 pm).
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Paul Leroux stole the show Saturday night in Edmundston by scoring two goals including the game winner. Photo Percy Picard
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Source: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone