A heartbreaking loss to the Solar Bears
The Lions were looking to begin a new winning streak Wednesday night against the Orlando Solar Bears at Colisée Vidéotron. Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and Co. could also look forward to the return of defenceman Alex Breton after his stint with the AHL’s Belleville Senators.
Orlando forward Hunter Fejes took a great pass to go in alone against Lions’ netminder Philippe Desrosiers at the start of the first period, but a sensational glove save meant the game remained scoreless. That didn’t last for long, however, as the Solar Bears’ Tristin Langan deflected a shot from the blue line to score his seventh goal of the season and give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Orlando kept the pressure on, but Desrosiers made yet another quality glove save, this time against Grant Mismash. Seeing their goalkeeper keep them in the game, the Lions were motivated to show their appreciation and Alex Breton’s top-shelf shot tied the game at 1-1. It was his first goal since returning to the squad. Trois-Rivières’ Colin Bilek then came close to giving the Lions the lead, but the team’s leading scorer’s shot from the slot was saved by Orlando goalie Jack LaFontaine. After 20 minutes of play, the teams were knotted at 1-1.
The Lions dictated the pace of play throughout the second period: Trois-Rivières completely dominated the shots on goal category with 14 versus five for Orlando. Forward Brendan Soucie had the best opportunity for the Lions when he outsmarted two Solar Bears defenders before going in alone against LaFontaine, but the Orlando netminder stood his ground. The Solar Bears had a golden opportunity late in the period when a defensive zone turnover gave Shawn Szydlowski a chance from the slot. However, Desrosiers stood tall with a pad save. So, no change on the scoreboard after 40 minutes of play, the teams remaining tied at 1-1.
Barely five minutes into the third period it was the Lions’ Ryan Francis who shook off his coverage and beat LaFontaine with a shot from the blue line. The 21-year-old forward has now scored in three consecutive games and gave the Lions a 2-1 lead. Just when it appeared the Lions would be claiming their 15th victory of the season, Orlando’s Mathieu Foget spoiled the Colisée Vidéotron party when he fooled Breton and Francis before beating Desrosiers with a backhand shot with 1:04 remaining to level the score at 2-2. The teams then had to go to overtime in an attempt to declare a winner. Fans in attendance thought that Philippe Bureau-Blais had won the game for the Lions at the midway point of the extra period, but his slap shot dinged off the post. Then Francis’ turnover gave the Solar Bears a two-against-one. Maxim Cajkovic beat Desrosiers with a perfect top-corner shot to give Orlando a 3-2 overtime victory.
The Lions will hope to rebound on Friday evening, when they host the Solar Bears for the second game of the three-game series.