Peter Amanatidis rises; Blizzard prevails against the Rapids 5-3

EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick – Edmundston Blizzard captain Peter Amanatidis led by example on Friday night, when his three assists paved the way for a 5-3 win over the Grand Falls Rapids in the second chapter of the Battle of the Northwest at the Jean-Daigle Centre.

Overall, the Blizzard played a more cohesive game than Wednesday’s shootout victory over the Rapids.

The pace of the game was pretty much a carbon copy of two days ago, with the Blizzard taking the early lead (Alexis Jacques’ goal at 2:30) only to see the Rapids tie the game late in the first period (Cole MacWilliam’s net at 18:21).

In the second, the visitors scored at 9:30 to give themselves a one-goal lead thanks to Jonah Leard’s goal. This lead would last only six minutes when Jérémy Ste-Marie levelled the scores at 2-2 at 15:31. The Blizzard took the lead for good at 17:53 thanks to Ryan Loveless.

In the third period, Jérémy Fortin made it 4-2 with the shorthanded winner at 3:43. Former Blizzard, Ethan Johnson, gave the partisan crowd a scare with his goal at 17:03. With a 4-3 lead, goaltender Samuel LeBlanc dearly defended the Blizzard fortress, who finally prevailed 5-3 following Félix Bédard’s empty-net goal.

The Blizzard’s (13-8-0-0) third straight win moves them into second place in the MHL’s Eastlink North Division, tied with the Miramichi Timberwolves (12-5-1-1), who have two games in hand.

In his sixth start, Samuel LeBlanc recorded his fourth win in front of the Blizzard cage. He received 29 shots from the Rapids, who allowed 37 to Edmundston.

Not surprisingly, Peter Amanatidis was named the game’s first star. Rapids goalie Adam Lecours got the second one, and the third went to Blizzard’s Jérémy Fortin.

The Blizzard’s next game is in less than 24 hours. The Fredericton Red Wings (10-7-2-1) will be the visitors at the Jean-Daigle Centre on Saturday (7:30 p.m.).

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Peter Amanatidis is on pace for his best season in the MHL. With his three points on Friday, he now has 16 (6g, 10a) in 21 games. (Photo Percy Picard)

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