Chapman propels Blizzard to OT win

EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick – Isaac Chapman greeted the new year with fashion by scoring two goals, including the game winner with 45 seconds left in overtime when the Edmundston Blizzard defeated the Grand Falls Rapids 5-4 in front of 1,417 spectators at the Jean-Daigle Centre Sunday afternoon.

Grand Falls-Edmundston rivalry is more exciting than ever. The two teams are tied atop the Eastlink North Mini-Division with 20 points each. Blizzard’s record is 9-1-0-2 while the Rapids are 8-2-1-3.

Sunday’s clash was the fifth chapter of the Battle of the Northwest this season. Edmundston beat Grand Falls in every way, once in regulation (7-3), overtime (5-4) and shootout (4-3). On the other hand, the Rapids won twice in shootout (3-2 and 4-3). Four of the five meetings were settled after regulation.

Sunday afternoon, Joshua Nadeau (2nd star) once again showed his great talent by collecting an assist on Chapman’s (1st star) two goals and those of Paul Leroux and Félix Laniel. Kevin Desjardins, on a breakaway, also shook the ropes for the Blizzard behind goaltender Nolan Boyd and Gio DiMattia.

Antoine Roy, Jérémie Gagnon, Alex Petrie and Nick Abbott were the Rapids scorers who doubled the Blizzard in shots (50-25). Marc-Antoine Bérubé-Jalbert had to shine more than once in front of the Blizzard net. The Amqui goalie is undefeated in five outings this season. He still hasn’t suffered a loss in regulation since joining Edmundston last year. His combined record in 14 games is 12-0-0-2.

The duel saw the two teams going back and forth. The Blizzard took a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes before seeing the Rapids rebound with two goals in the first half of the second frame. The Blizzard, however, retook a two-goal lead (4-2) before the end of the second period. Then the Rapids scored two more goals in the third, including Abbott’s (3rd star) tying goal.

For the offensive statistics, Nadeau (11 games) and Chapman (10 games) kept their streak of games with at least one point intact. Nadeau (11g, 17a) is now tied with Tyler Boivin (10g, 18a) at the top of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League scorers.

Unless there are any changes regarding rescheduled games, the Blizzard will play their next four games on opposing rinks. They will start on next weekend by traveling to Fredericton (Friday at 7 pm) and Miramichi (Saturday at 7 pm).

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Isaac Chapman’s reaction after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime Sunday at the Jean-Daigle Centre. Defenseman Vincent Bujold joins him for the celebrations. Photo Percy Picard

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