Anthony Beauregard takes care of the Growlers
Less than 24 hours after Friday night’s 3-1 loss to the Newfoundland Growlers, head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his Lions were back in action for the final game of a three-game series against their Canadian rivals. A Lions’ win was a must if the team had any aspirations of qualifying for the playoffs.
Trois-Rivières’ Connor Welsh opened the scoring off a terrific set-up from Anthony Beauregard and Cédric Lacroix. The Lions’ defenceman’s shot from the slot beat Growler netminder Dryden McKay, who had no chance to make a save. Newfoundland evened the score at the midway mark of the first period: Alone against Lions’ goaltender Joe Vrbetic, the Growlers’ Brennan Kapcheck was initially stopped, but teammate Brandon Kruse made no mistake with the ensuing rebound. Vrbetic was sensational for the rest of the period, notably making an incredible glove save against Michael Joyaux. The teams entered the first intermission deadlocked at 1-1.
The second period could be summed up in two words: Joe Vrbetic. The Lions’ goalkeeper was outstanding, stopping all 17 shots he faced. The 20-year-old made three consecutive saves against Growlers’ captain James Melindy, and then moments later perfectly anticipated Keenan Suthers set-up to Pavel Gogolev, preventing a sure goal with a pad save. The Lions had a harder time creating scoring chances of their own, the best coming when Trois-Rivières captain Cedric Montminy went in alone on McKay, but the Growler goalie stopped his backhand attempt. A scoreless second period meant the teams remained knotted at 1-1 after 40 minutes of play.
After just eight seconds into the third period, Anthony Beauregard took advantage of a turnover at the Growlers’ blue line, but McKay stood tall. Minutes later Newfoundland’s Simon Kubicek capitalized with the man advantage and his rocket from the blue line gave the Growlers a 2-1 lead. But the Lions had no quit in them, and a power play opportunity of their own resulted in Lacroix skillfully deflecting a Beauregard shot to even the score at 2-2. Then with only one minute remaining, Beauregard grabbed a loose puck at the top of the slot and fired a perfect top-shelf shot to give the Lions the lead. Trois-Rivières’ Montminy then sealed the outcome with an empty net goal with two seconds left to give the Lions a 4-2 win.
The Lions displayed grit and determination, scoring three goals in the final seven minutes of play to produce the victory. Joe Vrbetic was sensational, stopping 34 of the 36 shots he faced and making several big saves. Assistant captain Anthony Beauregard also had an excellent afternoon, finishing the game with two goals and one assist.