A crucial win for the Lions
Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and Co. were out to avenge Wednesday night’s 7-5 loss to the Admirals in Norfolk. Helping the cause, Trois-Rivières had reinforcements arrive in the form of three key players: Anthony Beauregard, Ryan Francis and Riley McKay.
The Lions took advantage of a power play opportunity to open the scoring in the first period. Brett Stapley froze the Norfolk defence before passing to Nicolas Guay, and his perfect one-timer eluded Admirals’ netminder Tomas Vomacka. Three minutes later, Stapley took a D-Jay Jerome pass and his pinpoint shot from the slot made the score 2-0 for the Lions. The Admirals made their way back into the game, when 45 seconds later Eric Cooley's pass deflected off a skate in front of the net and slipped past Trois-Rivières goaltender Joe Vrbetic, making the score 2-1. To the dismay of the many fans at Norfolk Scope arena, the Lions regained their two-goal lead moments later when defenceman Alex Breton joined the rush and he found himself alone against Vomacka: His nice backhand deke not only found the back of the net but also led to the Admirals making a goaltending change. Norfolk’s Darren McCormick then capitalized on a rebound three minutes later and the teams entered the first intermission with the Lions ahead 3-2.
The second period turned out to be quieter in terms of goal scoring after the five that were potted in the first, with the teams each scoring once in the period. Lions’ forward Francis came oh-so-close to scoring what was sure to have been the ECHL goal of the week when he fired a shot between his legs, but Cale Morris – Vomacka’s replacement – made the save. The Admirals’ goaltender was then unable to stop Trois-Rivières forward McKay while the Lions were shorthanded as he scored in his first game since his return. The Lions’ two-goal lead didn't last long as the Admirals made it 4-3 just 42 seconds later when Ryan Foss scored from the slot, his ninth goal of the season.
In the third period, Norfolk’s Stepan Timofeyev took advantage of a penalty to the Lions’ Stapley, tying the game at 4-4: The Admirals’ forward advanced into the Lions’ zone, outmaneuvered the two Lions defencemen and then beat Vrbetic. But the Lions had something to say about that, and less than two minutes later, Beauregard grabbed a loose puck in the slot and beat Morris to give the Lions a 5-4 lead. Then with just over four minutes remaining in the period, Trois-Rivières’ Brendan Soucie took advantage of a turnover in the offensive zone to score in his second consecutive game. The Lions’ Breton sealed the deal with an empty net goal to make the final score 7-4 for Trois-Rivières.
It was a “feel good” win for the Lions, who will now attempt to take the series in the third and final game against the Admirals Saturday night with puck drop at 6:05 p.m.