Blizzard stumbles in first game in Ottawa

Francis Asselin was the undisputed star of the game between Edmundston Blizzard and Ottawa Junior A Senators on Wednesday night. Photo archives Digiphoto

OTTAWA, Ontario – The Edmundston Blizzard’s players underwent a tough test in their first game of the Eastern Canadian Championship (Fred Page Cup) in the nation’s capital when they lost 4-1 to the host team, the Ottawa Junior A. Senators, on Wednesday night.

The Senators scored two goals in an empty net at the end of the third period. The game was close on the scoreboard but that was it. Had it not been for the masterful performance of goalkeeper Francis Asselin, who multiplied miraculous saves, the Blizzard would have found the evening a lot more difficult. The local team clearly dominated the game with a 42-17 shots-on-goal advantage.

No goal was scored in the first period, a long twenty minutes where the Blizzard seems absent. The Senators fired 17 shots at Asselin and Edmundston retaliated with two small shots.

The Senators scored their first two goals on the power play, the first by Finn Evans at 4:26 of the second, and the second at 8:01 by defenseman Michael Thomas at 8:01 of the third.

The Blizzard nevertheless managed to tie the score at 1 at the start of the third period (1:32) thanks to Dany Coulombe who deflected the puck from Tristan Mercure’s point shot. Liam Leonard also collected an assist on the play.

At the end of the third, head coach Ryan Salvis had no choice but to call his goalkeeper to the bench to send a sixth forward on the ice. But the plan did not work, the Senators finishing the game with two empty net goals at 18:27 and 19:18.

Asselin was named player of the game for the Blizzard. Coulombe was the other Edmundston player who stood up during the game.

The Blizzard’s power play inefficiency was also a factor in the game. Blizzard was silenced on six occasions. The Senators were twice successful in three attempts.

The Blizzard will get back to action for its second round-robin game on Thursday at 3:30 pm (local time) to face the Longueuil Collège français who defeated the Carleton Place Canadians 2-1 earlier Wednesday.

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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone