For the first game in the history of the Blizzard at home in the Maritime Hockey League, no local fans could have written a better ending script.
After a scoreless first period, the Amherst Ramblers shook the Blizzard by scoring three unanswered goals in the second frame. The Blizzard took control of the third period to tie the game at 3 before Alex Lavoie ended the debate in overtime and had the crowd go crazy inside the Palladium.
The 1,100 people in attendance – a packed house – got ther money’s worth. They cheered throughout the game and this had the effect of a seventh player on the ice for the Blizzard.
The defensemen of both teams scored six of the seven goals in the game.
A closer look at the game
The two teams played a very close checking game during the first 20 minutes. The Blizzard got the edge 8-6 in shots on goal. It was not until the 16th minute of play that the Ramblers got their first shot on goalkeeper Francis Asselin.
Amherst struck first with two goals from defenseman Jake Barter at 5:37 and 10:48. Then, rearguard Lucas Sangster made it 3-0 at 16:15. The Ramblers dominated 14-10 in the shots category.
In the third period, the wind completely turned. Captain Kyle Ward scored his seventh goal of the season at 0:25. From that point on, the Blizzard multiplied the attacks. Ryan Salvis’s squad then hit two posts. The Blizzard’s players did not lower their arms, but played harder. Then, the penalty sunk the Ramblers. On the powerplay, defenseman Nolan Alward reduced the deficit to a goal with 3:25 remaining. With 2:04 left, Salvis gambled by removing his goaltender Asselin in favor of a sixth player while the Blizzard got another man advantage. The strategy worked perfectly as Alward scored again with the tying goal at 18:19.
The crowd wanted more. The Ramblers, visibly shaken, started the overtime period shorthanded. They managed to resist. At 3 against 3, Alex Lavoie converted on a perfect pass in front of goalie Julian Galloway, beating him with a perfect wrist shot on the blocker’s side. The spectators went delirious and fully enjoyed the first Blizzard’s triumph at home.
“You saw a classic example of a team fighting to the very end,” were the first words of the head coach, Ryan Salvis, visibly happy at the conclusion of the game.
Salvis mentionned that this was an important test for his players because they were dealing with one of the best team of the league.
“The Ramblers have a great team and we knew before the game that we had to fight hard. On paper, we looked at them on how to match up.”
Although he was delighted with the work of his players, especially the effort displayed by the special teams, Salvis noticed aspects that the Blizzard will have to improve. “We need to do better without the puck. But at the end of the day, character won for us.”
Alexandre Jacob had a terrific game getting an assist on each Blizzard goal. Jordan King did the same for the Ramblers by getting helpers on his team’s three goals.
The Blizzard dominated 35-27 in the shots column. Edmundston (4 wins, no loss) is now the only undefeated team in regulation time in the MHL.
The Blizzard will try to inscrease their lead in the Eastlink North Division when they travel to Miramichi to play against the Timberwolves on Saturday, September 30. The puck drops at 7:30 pm.
QUICK FACTS – Friday’s three stars of the game: Nolan Alward, Blizzard (1st), Jordan King, Ramblers (2nd) and Francis Asselin, Blizzard (3rd)… Kyle Ward scored in each of the Blizzard’s four games. His seven goals top the MHL, tied with Michael Dill of Pictou County who, however, played one more game… Blizzard players dominate in most league categories: points (Kyle Ward, with 10), goals (Kyle Ward, tied with 7), assists (Logan Johnston, tied with 7), goal against average (Francis Asselin, with 1.66), save percentage (Francis Asselin, with 0.95) and shutouts (Francis Asselin, tied with 1)… The half-and-half winner received the sum of $1,345.
– 30 –
Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone