Blizzard wins in shootout in Grand Falls

GRAND FALLS, New Brunswick – Philippe Collette scored with 2:26 remaining in regulation, tying the game 2-2, and it wasn’t until the seventh-round shootout that the Edmundston Blizzard prevailed thanks to Jean-Christophe Coulombe’s goal that ended a long game, giving his team a 3-2 win over the Grand Falls Rapids at the E. & P. Sénéchal Center.

The game, scheduled to start at 7 pm, finally got underway at 7:48 pm. On-ice officials were delayed due to poor road conditions on the Trans-Canada Highway. This delay seemed to affect the players’ performance and the quality of the show, which offered nothing extraordinary to spectators.

Collette was certainly the star of the game, however. He skilfully set up the game’s first goal at 4:21 of the opening period when he rounded the net to feed Justin Hébert (5th), who had only to push the puck into an empty net. In addition to his tying goal late in the third, he set the tone for the shootout by scoring first.

Collette scored his 10th goal of the campaign after receiving a fine pass from Félix Bédard. Well positioned between the two end face-off circles, Collette shot quickly to beat the goalkeeper on the blocker side. After 60 minutes, it was a 2-2 deadlock between the two Northwestern teams.

In overtime, Noah Matulu almost gave the Blizzard the win when he flew alone on a breakaway. In the shootout, the diminutive Marcellus Francis scored the Rapids’ only goal before Coulombe put an end to the game in the 7th round with a low shot five hole.

Both goalkeepers, Nicholas Sheehan (Blizzard, 30 saves) and Adam Lecours (Rapids, 28 saves) had a very good game. The two goalies were teammates at the recent Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenge in Trenton, Ontario.

The three stars of the game were Raphaël Denis (1st, Rapids), Félix Bédard (2nd, Blizzard) and Tate Brenner (3rd, Rapids).

After playing their first 18 games without overtime, the Blizzard (12-8-0-0) have just posted back-to-back wins after regulation time. The Rapids’ record is 7-9-0-3. The same two teams will square off on Friday at 7:30 p.m., this time at Edmundston’s Jean-Daigle Centre. The following day, at 7:30 p.m., the Blizzard host the Fredericton Red Wings.

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Philippe Collette (left) was the top Blizzard forwards on Wednesday in Grand Falls. He notched a goal and an assist, as well as a shootout goal. (Photo archives Percy Picard)

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