Lions come from behind to win 6-4 !
Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his Lions concluded their three-games-in-three-days series against the Royals in Reading, Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon. Coming off back-to-back losses on Friday and Saturday, it was imperative that the Lions return to Colisée Vidéotron with at least one win if the team was entertaining any thoughts of post-season play.
The Lions had the luxury of not one but two power play chances at the start of the first period but failed to capitalize on either opportunity. And it wasn’t long thereafter that the Royals made Trois-Rivières pay when Alec Butcher’s shot from the slot made it 1-0 for Reading. The Lions, however, appeared determined not to come up short yet again, and when a penalty was given to the Royals’ Mason Millman, Trois-Rivières capitalized: Ryan Francis and Brett Stapley combined to tie the game at 1-1 when Francis potted his ninth power play goal of the season. Unfortunately for the Lions, Reading’s Evan Barratt found the back of the Trois-Rivières net with just 52 seconds left in the period, giving the home side a 2-1 lead.
Reading started the second period guns blazing and Sam Hu beat Lions’ netminder Joe Vrbetic to increase the Royals’ lead to 3-1. Minutes later the Lions’ Matthew Barron came close to narrowing the gap via a magnificent pass from Brendan Soucie, but Royals’ goalie Ryan Kenny, who was making his professional debut, made a nice pad save to keep the score 3-1. Vrbetic was then called upon to make several key saves to keep Trois-Rivières in the game, including a spectacular stop on Evan Barratt when the Royals forward appeared to have a wide open net to shoot at. Then moments later Vrbetic made a great glove save against Reading’s leading scorer, Charlie Gerard.
Vrbetic's outstanding performance in the second period paid dividends for the Lions in the third, as Trois-Rivières scored three goals in a span of 33 seconds at the start of the period. The Lions took full advantage of two five-on-three powerplays and took the lead for the first time in the game. First it was Cedric Montminy who closed the gap to one goal and then 10 seconds later Stapley’s terrific individual effort tied the game. Only 23 seconds after the Stapley goal it was Anthony Beauregard’s turn when he redirected Francis' pass to put the Lions ahead 4-3. At the midway mark of the period the Lions’ Dillon Hill beat Kenny with a low shot, a goal that Kenny would probably want a second crack at. The goal was Hill’s first in a Trois-Rivières uniform. Reading staged a late comeback attempt with a Barratt goal, but the Lions’ Nicolas Guay sealed the game’s outcome with an empty netter to give the Lions a 6-4 victory.
Trois-Rivières scored five third period goals, including those three in 33 seconds, to complete the comeback and give themselves an important win. Vrbetic had a 36-save performance, with several of the difficult variety. The Lions will be back on Colisée Vidéotron ice Wednesday night when these same two teams meet one another for the fourth straight time.