Lions now have to wait until Friday to clinch a playoff spot
After having won six of their last nine games, the Lions were just one win away from guaranteeing a trip to the postseason. Hoping to prevent that celebration from happening for head coach Éric Bélanger and his squad were the Worcester Railers, a team that also has its sights set on making the playoffs.
The Lions started out with a bang and from the opening faceoff had the Colisée Vidéotron fans on the edge of their seats. A two-on-one led by Tim Vanstone and Cédric Montminy completely flummoxed Railers’ goaltender Ken Appleby, but Vanstone was unable to put the puck into a wide-open net. That missed golden opportunity would come back to haunt the Lions when Worcester’s Jordan Smotherman scored his 29th goal of the season at the 12:07 mark. That was the only goal of the first period and after 20 minutes of play the Railers led 1-0.
Trois-Rivières had plenty of scoring chances in the second period. Left unattended in the slot, Anthony Nellis was locked and loaded to even the score but Worcester’s Appleby had other ideas. Towards the end of the period, Max Kaufman left a Railers’ defender eating dust with a beautiful fake, but new arrival Josh Brook missed converting that trickery into what would have been his first goal with his new team when he missed the net by a matter of a few centimeters. Just like at the end of 20 minutes of play, after 40 minutes the score remained 1-0 in favour of the Railers.
Blake Christensen was able to capitalize on a rare Arturs Silovs mistake just over two minutes into the third period to give Worcester a 2-0 lead. It was a goal that the Lions’ goaltender would no doubt like to have back. Trois-Rivières’ Vanstone had a golden opportunity to get the Lions to within one but his shot clanged off the crossbar. Despite the Lions’ best efforts, the team will have to wait a little longer to officially qualify for the playoffs, ultimately losing to the Railers 3-0.
The Lions’ next chance to write their ticket to the playoffs will be on Friday night at Colisée Vidéotron when they once again take on the Railers in the second game of a three-game series.