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Lions fall to Royals in the first of three games

The Lions faced off against the best team in the North Division in the form of the Reading Royals this evening. It marked the start of a three-game series which sees the teams playing on back-to-back-to back days at Colisée Vidéotron. Head coach Éric Bélanger and his squad were looking to extend their winning ways against the Royals, having garnered seven out of a possible eight points in their previous four games.

The visitors started things off in their favour by scoring the game’s first goal. Positioned in the slot, Frank DiChiara was able to beat Lions’ goaltender Arturs Silov with a shot that went through Silov’s legs. But that didn’t prevent the Lions from applying pressure of their own, and the team capitalized when Royals’ netminder Logan Flodell left his goal unattended. Brenden Locke took a pinpoint pass from teammate Anthony Nellis and was able to easily find the back of the Royals’ net. But with the score now 1-1, the Royals were able to retake the lead in the middle of the period when Thomas Ebbing scored. The teams ended 20 minutes of play with the Royals leading 2-1.  

The Lions were buzzing around the Reading net throughout the second period, but Royals’ netminder Flodell didn’t crack under the pressure. And following an excellent scoring chance by the Lions, a quick Royals’ counter-attack engineered by Jacob Pritchard ended up with Kenny Hausinger scoring to give Reading a two-goal advantage. The second period ended with the Royals holding a 3-1 lead.

Reading was able to build upon their lead in the third period. Brayden Low scored off a pass from Frank DiChiara, meaning the task at hand for the Lions was getting increasingly more difficult. But the Lions’ never-say-die attitude was in full view as the team came oh-so-close to reducing the deficit, notably during a power play when Cédric Montminy hit the post to Flodell’s left. But even with that close call, the Royals were never in serious danger of losing their lead and wound up collecting the two points in a 5-1 victory.

The Lions will be seeking revenge on Saturday afternoon when the teams will meet for the second time this weekend. Puck drop is at 3:00 p.m.