Dissapointing loss for the Lions
Head coach Éric Bélanger and his Lions were looking to sweep the Adirondack Thunder with a second win in less than 24 hours in a two-game series. Trois-Rivières also had captain Cédric Montminy back in the line-up after having served his five-game suspension assessed in the second game of the season.
Unfortunately, Trois-Rivières appeared to lack energy at the start of the game. To ignite his team, the Lions’ John Parker-Jones dropped the gloves with the Thunder’s Daniel Maggio. The 22-year-old defenceman handled himself well, throwing several punches at his adversary. The team responded in kind, as the Lions had their best chances of the first period immediately after the fight. James Phelan came close to scoring his first goal in a Lions uniform, but Thunder goalkeeper Jake Theut made a remarkable save with the butt of his stick to preserve the 0-0 score. However, it was the Thunder that opened the scoring with two quick goals. Jake Ryzcek and Jarrod Gurley each took advantage of heavy traffic in front of Lions’ goalie Philippe Desrosiers' net to beat him with shots from the blue line, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
At the start of the middle stanza, head coach and director of hockey operations Pete MacArthur and his Thunder added to their lead courtesy of Patrick Grasso. Alone in the slot, the forward made a nice fake on Desrosiers before top-shelfing. The goal, however, seemed to wake the Lions up as they played with much more intensity. William Leblanc came close to putting the home side on the scoreboard, but the Lions’ number 74 had a goal stolen by Theut. Trois-Rivières continued its relentless attack, directing 15 shots on the Thunder goal in the second period. During a Lions power play, Pierrick Dubé looked like he might have finally solved Theut, but he was thwarted as well. Finally, at the 18:45 mark, Colin Bilek capitalized on a rebound off of a Parker-Jones shot to give the Lions their first goal of the game, and after 40 minutes of play Adirondack led 3-1.
The Lions had a power play opportunity at the start of the third period, and although it was a great chance for Trois-Rivières to narrow Adirondack’s lead, it turned out to be the Thunder that capitalized. On a two-on-one break, Adirondack’s Ryan Smith hit the post, but the rebound landed directly on Sebastian Vidmar’s stick who easily scored into an open net. The Lions desperately tried to get back into the game but couldn’t create quality scoring chances. Moments later, the Thunder’s Colin Long launched a loose puck from the slot to make it 5-1, negating any chance of a Lions comeback. The Thunder ultimately scored into an empty net to make the final score 6-1 and seal the game.
It was a game to forget for the Lions who did not play well against a team that up until today was still looking for its first win of the season. It’s back to the drawing board for head coach Bélanger, his staff and players in order to be ready for the three games to be played in Florida next week on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Jacksonville and Orlando.