GRAND FALLS, New Brunswick – Another exciting chapter of the Battle of the Northwest which turned in favor of the Grand Falls Rapids who won 3-2 in shootout at home against the Edmundston Blizzard in front of 686 spectators.
The undisputed star of the evening was however goalkeeper Antoine Lyonnais who shone through the whole game repelling repeated Rapids’ assaults, the best offensive team of the league with 53 goals in 10 games.
Blizzard number 31 faced a barrage of 44 shots. He was particularly brilliant in the third period and in overtime with spectacular saves. His opposite, Nolan Boyd, also had an excellent game. He faced 34 shots.
The home team opened the scoring at 5:55 of the second frame. It took three shots to beat Lyonnais, left unprotected. Jérémie Gagnon got the goal. At 10:49 of the same period, Isaac Chapman shot towards the net and the puck deflected past goaltender Boyd.
In the third, Carter McCluskey took advantage gave the Rapids a 2-1 lead on the power play at 12:57. But 52 seconds later, Chapman exploded into neutral territory to beat the defenseman before skating all alone in front of Boyd and he beat him with a sharp lift shot into the net’s top left corner. A pretty goal that tied the score at 2-2. For Chapman, it was an 8th goal this season.
In shootout, only Kyle Foreman shook the ropes to give the Rapids (5-2-0-3, 13pts) a precious win. The Blizzard (7-1-0-1, 15pts) suffered a first loss after six consecutive wins.
Strangely enough, the league’s top two scorers, Joshua Nadeau (9g, 11a) of the Blizzard, and Tyler Boivin (6g, 14a) of the Rapids, were held pointless. The three stars of the game went to McCluskey (1st – 1g, 1a), Lyonnais (2nd – 2 GA, .955) and Drew Toner (3rd – 1a).
The Blizzard will play its next two games on the road, Saturday, December 12 (7 p.m.) in Miramichi and Sunday, December 13 (3 p.m.) in Grand Falls.
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Goalkeeper Antoine Lyonnais and Isaac Chapman (2 goals) stood out for the Blizzard in Grand Falls on Friday night. Photos archives Percy Picard
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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, Edmundston Blizzard vice-president communications; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone