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Lions display character in OT win against Railers

The Lions began an eight-game road trip by facing off against the Worcester Railers at the DCU Center on Wednesday evening. Trois-Rivières was hoping to end their season series against the Railers with a winning record, as before tonight’s game the teams had met four times, with each side winning twice.

Salaberry-de-Valleyfield native Étienne Montpetit was making his first start in goal wearing a Lions uniform. He was called upon early in the game when he made a good pad save against Worcester’s Anthony Repaci. A few minutes later Trois-Rivières’ Nicolas Guay finished off a terrific play by James Phelan to score his ninth goal of the season. The Railers battled back quickly, however, as 82 seconds later Artem Kulakov scored to tie the game at 1-1. With less than two minutes remaining in the period, the Lions’ Matthew Barron scored to put the Trois-Rivières back in front. Nicolas Larivière, who had not played since January 25, collected an assist on the goal. At the end of 20 minutes of play, the Lions were ahead 2-1.

Trois-Rivières found themselves playing undisciplined hockey at the start of the second period, giving the Railers two power play opportunities. Worcester’s Steve Jandric capitalized when he beat Montpetit with a shot that the goalkeeper surely would have liked to have had a second chance at, thereby leveling the score at 2-2. The Railers continued to dictate the pace of play throughout the period, outshooting the Lions by a margin of 12 to 6. With three minutes left in the period, the Railers’ Repaci had a two-on-one break with Andrei Bakarov. Rapaci opted to go for goal himself and it turned out to be the right decision, his goal giving the Railers their first lead of the game. The score after two periods of play saw the Railers ahead 3-2.

Worcester continued to dominate in the third period, but Montpetit stood on his head in order to keep his team in the game, making several important saves. His save on Bobby Butler was highlight reel material. Things suddenly turned Trois-Rivières’ way in the space of 1:27. The Lions’ Anthony Beauregard recovered a loose puck to even the score at 3-3: It was Beauregard’s 23rd goal of the season, a Lions’ record for goals scored in a single campaign. Just over a minute later, in a play similar to the one that led to Beauregard’s tally, Trois-Rivières’ Guay jumped on Markuss Komuls' rebound to give the Lions a 4-3 lead as the period was winding down. But with only five seconds remaining in the game, Worcester’s Butler scored to force the teams into overtime.

Trois-Rivières’ Ryan Francis was the OT hero when he beat Railer netminder Henrik Tikkanen with a shot from the top of the face-off circle. It turned out that Étienne Montpetit survived his baptism in the professional ranks, stopping 36 of the 40 shots he faced to help give the Lions a 5-4 overtime victory.

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