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Boy, does this win ever feel good

Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and Co. began their six-game road trip by facing off against the Adirondack Thunder in a three-games-in-three-days series. The Lions were out to put a stop to their eight-game winless streak as the team desperately tries to catch up to the Worcester Railers, who hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the North division.

Despite missing several key players, the Lions started the game guns blazing. Loïc Jarry’s forechecking enabled Nicolas Guay to recover the puck in the offensive zone. He spotted Brett Stapley positioned in the slot, and Stapley didn't waste his opportunity when his top-shelf shot beat Thunder netminder Jake Theut. Adirondack’s attempt to even the score on the power play was thwarted when Brandon Schultz's shot hit the crossbar dead-on. The Lions’ James Phelan immediately jumped on the loose puck to create a two-on-one, but Theut pulled off a big save. Near the end of the period the Lions were generous to a fault by giving the Thunder a two-man power play advantage in the space of five seconds. But the Trois-Rivières penalty kill was outstanding and prevented the Thunder from having any quality chances. After 20 minutes of play the Lions were ahead 1-0.

Trois-Rivières started the second period strongly when after only 22 seconds of play Alex Breton doubled the Lions’ lead. Stapley took advantage of a turnover at the Thunder blue line and fed Cedric Montminy. The captain, with his back to the action, delivered a magnificent pass to Breton who found the back of the Thunder net with a one-timer, leaving Theut with no chance. The Lions then continued to press the opposition goal. D-Jay Jerome grabbed a loose puck in the crease, but his shot dinged off the post. In the waning minutes of the period the Thunder took advantage of another power play to restore some momentum, but Lions’ goalie Joe Vrbetic made two big saves. Vrbetic stopped all 12 shots directed towards him in the period and after 40 minutes of play the Lions were ahead 2-0.

Adirondack then scored at the 41-second mark of the third period: Quebec native Yanick Turcotte grabbed a rebound and his shot went between Vrbetic’s legs, narrowing the Lions’ lead to a single goal. The Lions’ goalkeeper subsequently made his best save of the night a few minutes later with an extraordinary pad save to maintain the Lions’ lead. Trois-Rivières rewarded their goalkeeper shortly thereafter when Montminy zipped past a Thunder defender and beat Theut. Slightly more than two minutes later, a powerful Guay shot while on the power play made the score 4-1 for the Lions. With only 9.4 seconds left in the game, the Thunder’s Xavier Parent scored his twelfth goal of the season, but it was too little too late, and the Lions registered a 4-2 victory.

This well-earned win finally put an end to the Lions’ eight-game losing streak. The team played an excellent game and found ways to be opportunistic in the opposition zone. Montminy and Stapley finished the game with three points each, and Vrbetic was solid in net, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced.