EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick – The Edmundston Blizzard moved to within one point of first place in the Eastlink North division with an important 5-3 triumph over the Fredericton Red Wings in front of the biggest crowd of the season at the Jean-Daigle Centre.
The 2,480 spectators witnessed another outstanding performance by the Blizzard players, who extended their streak of games with at least one point to 12. The Blizzard end 2023 with a record of 21-8-1-0 for a total of 43 points, one less than the West Kent Steamers (21-7-2-0).
Félix Bédard (1st star) was the best in the Blizzard camp with a goal (22nd) and two assists. His goal came in an empty net late in the game. Jérémy Fortin (2nd star) had a goal (16th) and an assist. Ryan Loveless (10th), Jérémie Thibodeau (2nd) and Philippe Collette (17th) also shook things up in the Blizzard camp. Alex Roode (3rd star) scored all three goals for the Wings (14-13-2-2).
The finest goal of the evening was scored by defenseman Jérémie Thibodeau, whose maneuver – for 60-something nostalgics – was a carbon copy of Bobby Orr’s finest plays. On a power play midway through the third period, Thibodeau skated from the back of his net into the opposition zone between two defensemen, beating them “Pete Mahovlich-style”. He then found himself alone in front of goalkeeper Yacine Chemrouk, rounded him “Paul Coffey style” and slotted the disc into the back of the net. This coast-to-coast 4th Blizzard goal, scored at 10:46, proved to be the winner.
The Red Wings came out strong to start the game, scoring the only two goals of the opening frame, at 1:37 and 12:04. The Blizzard responded in the second period with goals from Collette and Loveless.
The Blizzard kept up the momentum in the third period with goals from Fortin and Thibodeau. The Wings gave fans a cold sweat when they cut the gap to one goal (4-3) at 12:40. With 97 seconds left in the game, Bédard put the final nail in the Wings coffin with a shot into an empty cage.
The league’s goalkeeping leader in all major categories, Nicholas Sheehan, recorded his 16th win of the season. He faced only 23 shots from the Wings. The Blizzard unleashed 38 shots against goaltender Chemrouk.
The Blizzard players will return to their biological families for the holiday season. They’ll be back on the ice on Thursday, January 4 (7:30 p.m.) when the Blizzard host the Grand Falls Rapids.
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Defenseman Jérémie Thibodeau scored one of the Blizzard’s finest goals of the year. His two goals this season are game winners. Photo Percy Picard
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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone