Lions endure another defeat
The Lions de Trois-Rivières were back in action Friday night after a six-day hiatus due to the ECHL all-star game with the Adirondack Thunder visiting Colisée Vidéotron.
Adirondack had the upper hand early in the game, peppering Lions’ netminder Joe Vrbetic. But a slashing penalty assessed to the Thunder’s Jeff Taylor gave the Lions a chance to put their power play into action. The Lions’ Brett Stapley was playing his first game since December 29 when he suffered a concussion, and the forward wasted no time making an impact: He initiated a spectacular play, with Ryan Francis the beneficiary by scoring his tenth goal of the season. But with less than five minutes remaining in the period, Thunder forward Brandon Schultz tied the game when he finished off a two-on-one with Patrick Grasso. Trois-Rivières’ Riley McKay deflected Francis Thibeault's shot near the end of the period, but the puck rattled off the post. After 20 minutes of play the teams were knotted at 1-1, with Vrbetic stopping 17 of the 18 shots he faced.
At the 32-second mark of the second period, the Lions’ Cedric Montminy grabbed a loose puck and restored the Lions’ lead. The visitors then took advantage of a two-man power play a few minutes later and scored two goals in the space of two minutes. Adirondack’s Colin Long scored first with assists going to Shane Harper and Jeff Taylor, and then Grant Jozefek scored off a rebound to give the Thunder a 3-2 lead. Adirondack continued to swarm Vrbetic's net, but the Lions’ goalkeeper stood tall with several spectacular saves. However, with 1:49 remaining in the period, Grasso was left alone at the top of the slot and his shot found the back of the Lions’ net, making the score 4-2 at the end of the second period.
Much as the Lions tried to get back in the game in the third period, the team couldn’t make the most of their chances. At the midway mark of the period Trois-Rivières’ Mathieu Brodeur took a clever pass from Montminy and the defenceman’s shot did beat Thunder goalie Jake Theut to narrow the score to 4-3. The goal gave the Lions a spark and gave hope to the fans in attendance at Colisée Vidéotron. Trois-Rivières pulled out all the stops to tie the game, but Alex Breton's breakaway ended with his shot clanging off the crossbar. The Thunder sealed the game with two empty net goals and finished with a 6-3 victory.
The Lions have now lost six games in a row, the team’s longest losing streak this season. Trois-Rivières now travels to Massachusetts to take on the Worcester Railers Sunday afternoon.