Lions enjoy a perfect week
The Lions wanted to conclude the week’s action with a second victory in as many games, as well as extending their home-winning streak at Colisée Vidéotron which stood at four games. Meanwhile, the Iowa Heartlanders were in the throes of a nine-game road losing streak.
It didn’t take look for the game to see its first quality scoring opportunity: 12 seconds in, the Lions’ Anthony Beauregard took a pinpoint pass from William Leblanc, but Iowa’s goaltender Hunter Jones made a key save to keep the game scoreless. A few minutes later, the Heartlanders’ Brendan Robbins took advantage of a misplay by Trois-Rivières netminder Philippe Desrosiers to score into a completely empty net. However, the Lions subsequently enjoyed a power play opportunity, and they didn’t squander it: John Parker-Jones, the ECHL's leading power-play scorer, let loose a cannon to even the score. So, it only took two minutes and 30 seconds for the home fans to deluge the Colisée Vidéotron ice with stuffed animals of all sorts as part of the Teddy Bear Toss promotion. The Heartlanders then responded with a three-on-one break and Alec Broetzman beat Desrosiers with a precise shot. But Trois-Rivières was quick to reply, with Olivier Galipeau putting the finishing touches on a magnificent play orchestrated by Pierrick Dubé and Brett Stapley, and once again the teams were deadlocked. With less than five minutes remaining in the period, Colin Bilek deflected a Philippe Bureau-Blais shot to give the Lions a 3-2 lead heading into the first intermission.
The second period saw fewer quality scoring chances for either side. Bilek twice came close to scoring his eighth goal of the season while stationed in the slot, including once following a Michigan attempt by Ryan Francis. Ultimately it was Iowa’s Cole Stallard who skillfully deflected Matt Murphy's shot to even the score at 3-3 midway through the period. Heartlanders’ goaltender Jones showed his mettle by stopping a great chance by defenceman Alex Breton. Applying pressure during a man-advantage opportunity in the final minute of the period, the Heartlanders had several scoring chances, but Desrosiers made three spectacular saves in quick succession to preserve the 3-3 scoreline.
The Lions applied pedal-to-the-medal at the start of the third period. Barely two minutes into the final stanza, Cédric Montminy hit the post on a three-on-two break. Moments later, Nicolas Guay and Leblanc each had excellent scoring chances, but Jones was up to the challenge. Iowa’s Sallard showed his appreciation for his goaltender’s fine work by scoring on a two-on-one, making it 4-3 for the visitors. The Lions then went into overdrive. Nestled in the slot, Pierrick Dubé took a Stapley pass and launched a top-shelf shot to even the score at 4-4. The goal seemed to motivate the Lions even more and they dominated the rest of the game. In a sequence that was almost identical to the Dubé goal, the Lions’ Beauregard hit the crossbar. However, the forward didn’t give up and collected a loose puck to beat Jones and give the Lions a 5-4 overtime victory.
Trois-Rivières showed tremendous resilience throughout the game. The team came from behind several times to ultimately register the win, and in so doing record a fifth consecutive victory at Colisée Vidéotron.