The Tigers returned to action after the Christmas break with a pair of games last weekend at the Memorial Civic Center. On Friday the Timberwolves provided the opposition while Saturday saw a visit from Edmundston. Miramichi currently sit tied for fourth place with the St. Stephen Aces while the Blizzard are in third, five points behind Campbellton.
In Friday’s tilt, Campbellton started strong, peppering sixteen shots on net but could get nothing past Miramichi goalie, Tanner Somers who seems to love to frustrate the Tigers with his very solid play. Likewise, at the other end of the rink, Tiger goalie, Tristan Gray turned aside all Timberwolves’ attempts and the first period ended in a scoreless tie. In the middle frame Campbellton lit the lamp first at the 3:30 mark when, on a powerplay, Dawson Stairs blistered a shot past Somers and into the top corner of the net. The puck was in and out of the net so quickly that the goal judge missed it but the referee, who was properly positioned on the end line signaled a goal. Francis Thibeault picked up an assist on the play. Before the end of the second, Miramichi answered with a pair, the first by Kennedy Gallant and then a nice tap-in by Walker Campbell to take the lead into the second intermission. The third period went scoreless until Joel Walker beat Somers on the glove side with only a little more than two minutes left in regulation play. On the play, Sam Dow passed ahead to Walker who shot on net from the top of the left face-off circle. The shot was stopped but the rebound was gobbled up by Walker who wristed it over the goalie’s glove to tie the match. Coleton Perry also got a helper on the play. Fans were then treated to an exciting overtime period with the two teams generating chances but both goalies prevailed and a shoot-out was needed. Of the six shooters, only Jason Imbeault of the Timberwolves managed to score giving Miramichi the win and the extra point. Imbeault was named the game’ third star while the goalies, Somers and Gray were first and second stars, respectively.
As exciting as Friday’s game turned out to be, Saturday’s contest did not disappoint the Tigers’ faithful with the two teams, the Tigers and Blizzard, providing end-to-end action. Campbellton opened the scoring late in the first when Mitch Britton drove home a rebound off the back boards into the net. Defencemen Sam Dow and Francis Thibeault earned assists on the play. Tristan Gray turned aside all ten shots by Edmundston and the Tigers took the one goal lead into the first intermission. In the second, Campbellton scored the only goal of the period when Pierre-Luc Lurette, the Tigers’ leading point-getter, added to his totals by blasting a slapshot past Ewan MacDonald in the Blizzard’s net. Lurette was set up by Jared Janke and Sam Dow. Early in the third period, quick goals by Sam King, Aleck Forcier and Gabriel Vanier silenced the home fans by giving Edmundston the lead. However, the deflated crowd were soon energized again when Carson Stairs and Dylan Coffey engineered a rush that resulted in a tip-in goal by Coffey off a shot by Stairs. Less than four minutes later Campbellton reclaimed the lead on a blast from Stairs who had been set up for the one-timer by Thibeault and Dow. Ninety seconds later, with the Tigers forecheckers harassing the Blizzard in Edmundston’s end, Maxime Charest scooped up a mishandled puck just inside the blue line. Then, as Brad Mann, the Voice of the Tigers on HockeyTV would say, he dippsy-doodled his way past a couple of surprised defenders. As he approached the net he quickly manuevered his stick, with the puck on it, back between his legs and tapped it past the goalie into the net. The Blizzard pulled their goalie but after Campbellton gained possession of the puck deep in the Tigers’ zone, Thibeault lifted a high shot up ice and into the gaping net for the final tally of the game.
The Tigers will now spend the week preparing for their next big game versus Summerside when the Caps visit the Memorial Civic Center on Friday, January 11th. The Tigers presently trail the first place Summerside squad by six points and are looking to cut into that lead.