A game to forget for the Lions
Head coach Eric Bélanger and his Lions had their sights set on ending their two-game losing streak by defeating their biggest rival, the Newfoundland Growlers. But this was going to be easier said than done considering the Growlers had not lost any of their three games this season.
Just under three minutes into the game it was the Growlers' Orrin Centazzo taking advantage of a great play orchestrated by linemates Tyler Boland and Zach O'Brien to open the scoring. Five minutes later, Lions forward Colin Bilek created a turnover at Newfoundland's blue line and passed the puck to Anthony Beauregard who beat Dryden McKay with an accurate shot. It was Beauregard's third straight game in which he scored. Unfortunately for the Colisée Vidéotron fanbase, the visitors immediately returned to the attack and O'Brien converted a pass from Centazzo to beat Lions netminder Philippe Desrosiers with a shot that went top-shelf.
The Lions showed their tenacity and wasted no time in clawing back. Ryan Francis went in alone while the Lions were shorthanded and number 44 converted a nice backhand fake to beat McKay between his pads to even the score. Less than three minutes later, Trois-Rivières' Nicolas Guay positioned himself in the slot and scored his first goal in a Lions uniform, enabling the home side to go to the locker room with a 3-2 lead.
Desrosiers made several important saves during the second period to frustrate the Growlers' forwards. Finally, late in the period, defenceman Axel Rindell went in on a two-on-one break and the Finn made no mistake with Isaac Johnson's precision pass to tie the game. Just under two minutes later, Lions rookie Riley McKay was sent off for tripping, giving the visitors a power play opportunity.
The red-hot trio of Boland / O'Brien / Centazzo quickly showed why they are setting the ECHL ablaze as Boland found the back of the Lions' net with a perfect shot to the top corner. O'Brien and Centazzo each picked up an assist on the play. The Lions' McKay had a golden opportunity to make amends as he had a break with five seconds remaining in the second period, but Growlers' goalkeeper Dryden McKay made the save.
Newfoundland's Isaac Johnson dealt a blow to Trois-Rivières' hopes at the start of the third period by finishing off Zach Solow's pass in front of the net to make the score 5-3. Johnson then took advantage of a misplay by the Lions' Olivier Galipeau to score his second goal of the game: The Lions' assistant captain inadvertently directed the puck into the back of his own net, and in so doing clinched the win for Newfoundland by a final score of 6-3.
It's a game to forget for the Lions who still have not won at home this season. They will have the chance to make amends on Saturday afternoon against these same Growlers. Puck drop is at 3:00 p.m.