First home game win of the season !
The Lions had almost a week between games to prepare for their two matchups against the Adirondack Thunder. Head coach Éric Bélanger, who was back behind the team bench, had plenty of time to fine-tune the playbook so that his team was prepared to win its first home game of the season.
Joe Vrbetic got his second consecutive start in the Lions’ goal: The 20-year-old netminder performed very well in last Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Newfoundland Growlers, stopping 36 of the 39 shots he faced. He was tested early in this game as the Thunder’s Xavier Parent had a quality chance, but Vrbetic had the upper hand with an important glove save. The Thunder continued to apply the pressure, and a few minutes later Jarrod Gourley delivered a powerful shot that found its was into the back of the Trois-Rivières net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Lions' best scoring opportunity belonged to Colin Bilek, but the forward couldn’t convert Ryan Francis' terrific set-up. Toward the end of the first period, the Lions’ Brennan Saulnier violently checked Jeff Taylor of the Thunder, resulting in hostilities among all 10 players on the ice at the time. The Lions’ newcomer received a five-minute penalty for boarding as well as a game misconduct, but the Thunder was unable to capitalize on the power play.
The Lions started the second period on a mission, and completely dominated the Thunder in the shots on goal department (17-6). Nicolas Guay, William Leblanc, Anthony Beauregard and Pierrick Dubé all had golden scoring opportunities to tie the game, however Adirondack goalkeeper Isaac Poulter was unbeatable, and the score remained 1-0. But it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before the Lions would get on the scoresheet. With less than five minutes to go in the second period, Nicolas Larivière finally managed to solve Poulter and the fans at Colisée Vidéotron erupted. The Lions continued to apply the
pressure on the Thunder's defence, which ultimately led to Ryan Da Silva being sent off for slashing and giving Trois-Rivières a power play chance. The Lions weren’t going to be denied, especially with the ultimate goal being to get that much sought-after first home win of the season. Ryan Francis faked a shot before dishing-up a perfect pass to Dubé who, without hesitating, found the back of the net with a powerful shot. After 40 minutes of play, the Lions led 2-1.
Early in the third period, Dubé converted Beauregard's pass to give the Lions a two-goal lead. However, the Thunder narrowed the gap thanks to Patrick Grasso batting the puck from out of the air on a pass from Parent. The Lions didn’t turtle, however, and continued to press forward. Dubé came close to scoring a hat trick on a two-man advantage power play, but Poulter made a key save to keep the Thunder in the game. And just when the Lions looked to be heading towards their first home victory this season, a lack of discipline allowed the Thunder to tie the score in the dying minutes of the game. Noah Corson (son of former Montreal Canadien Shayne Corson), took advantage of a rebound to bring the teams back to square one, sending the game into overtime. However, the Lions’ Alex Breton quickly put an end to the game: The defenceman took advantage of an Xavier Parent miscue and he found himself alone in front of the Thunder net. He made no mistake with a perfectly placed shot into the top corner.
Mission accomplished: The Lions recorded their first victory in front of the Colisée Vidéotron faithful. Now the team will attempt to make it two in a row Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. against the Thunder!