EDMUNDSTON, N.B. – In his second start with the Edmundston Blizzard, goaltender Simon Couroux literally stole the show at the E. & P. Sénéchal Center on Wednesday night, when he helped his team defeat the Grand Falls Rapids 5-2.
The 19-year-old goaltender from Gatineau, Quebec, made many key saves, sometimes spectacular. He was particularly sublime when the Blizzard had to defend themselves during a five-minute shorthanded sequence midway through the third period. The Blizzard then led 3 to 2 and everything was allowed for the locals who were keeping the pressure.
After a fairly divided first period, the Rapids clearly dominated the next two. However, they faced a wall in Couroux who, unsurprisingly, was chosen the first star of the clash.
Blizzard was the only one to get on the scoreboard in the first bout. With a man advantage, Peter Amanatidis passed the puck to Jérémy Duguay who made a brilliant cross pass to Ben Lightbody who fired a one-timer pass Gio DiMattia to score his first goal of the season.
In the second period, Yannic Bastarache scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season for the Rapids (at 1:00 and 15:05). Amanatidis also scored for the Blizzard (his 7th at 14:41). The two teams therefore retreated to the dressing room deadlocked at 2-2 after 40 minutes of play.
During the third period, the Rapids were constantly on the heels of the Blizzard defense. But the repeated attacks were each time repelled by Couroux. Mitchell McLeod gave a 3-2 lead for the Blizzard at 2:32. With 9:32 left in the game, the Blizzard was able to resist during a five-minute shorthanded. For most of that time, the puck has been stuck in Blizzard territory. Once the major penalty was over, Jacob Long backed up the attack to score the insurance goal at 16:11. It was the second goal for the 17-year-old defender from Edmundston. Austin Paul (14th) completed in an empty net.
The Rapids outshot the Blizzard 42-21, which was a fair indication of the dominance of the Grand Falls squad on Wednesday night. On the other hand, the Blizzard were back in action after a two-week break.
With his two goals, Yannic Bastarache earned the second star of the game. Thanks to his excellent defensive play, Blizzard captain and defenseman Brendan Sibley was named the third star.
The Blizzard (18-7-1-2 = 39pts) is one point behind the Fredericton Red Wings (19-7-2-0 = 40pts). Fifth in the Eastlink North section standings, the Rapids (12-20-1-0 = 25pts) will need all their change to join the Campbellton Tigers (14-7-4-1 = 33pts) in fourth place.
The Blizzard will play its next two games at the Jean-Daigle Centre, Friday (against Campbellton) and Saturday (versus Fredericton). These two important duels will begin at 7:30 p.m.
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Simon Couroux offered an exceptional performance on Wednesday evening in Grand Falls. Photo archives Percy Picard
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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone