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Lions fall in OT to Stingrays

Sunday afternoon marked the third and final game of the three-game series between the Lions and the South Carolina Stingrays. Head coach Éric Bélanger and his players were hoping to extend their winning ways established with Saturday night’s victory and to return home to Trois Rivières with the wind in their sails.

It wasn’t long into the first period when Lions’ goalkeeper Philippe Desrosiers, who was back in nets after having Saturday night off, needed to make several key saves. The Lions eventually began to put their mark on the period as they pressed Stingray goaltender Hunter Shepard, who was also answering the bell when it came to impressive stops. But with just one second remaining in the period, Alexandre Fortin converted an Anthony Nellis pass with a beautiful deke: It was Fortin’s third goal in two games. The teams headed into the first intermission with the Lions ahead 1-0.

The Stingrays came back strong in the second period scoring three unanswered goals. Jonny Evans was the first to find the back of the Lions’ net after less than two minutes into the period, tying the game at 1-1. Then it was Derek Gentile scoring from a sharp angle to give South Carolina a 2-1 lead. In a play that was similar to the Stingrays’ first goal, Kevin O’Neil scored off a pinpoint shot. The Lions, however, had not had their final say and Fortin, again, took advantage of a power play opportunity to make the score 3-2. His impressive spin-o-rama move fooled a Stingray defenceman and goalie Hunter Shepard was unable to stop Fortin’s blast.

In the third period, head coach Bélanger’s squad was able to find the equalizer. Francis Thibeault’s first goal as a Lion was the result of a nice individual effort, but just under five minutes later Kevin O’Neil regained the lead for the Stingrays. Only 20 seconds after O’Neil’s goal, however, the Lions’ Mathieu Brodeur capitalized on a beautiful Tim Vanstone set-up to once again tie the game.

It was on to overtime, and after a few good scoring chances at both ends of the ice, the Stingrays’ Justin Florek ended the game with a breakaway goal. After spending a week on the road where the Lions had one win and three losses, the team now returns home.