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Lions fall once more to the Growlers

Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his Lions de Trois-Rivières wanted to put Saturday night’s blowout 7-3 loss to the Newfoundland Growlers in the rear-view mirror and salvage their road trip to St. John’s with four out of a possible six points.

The Lions started out strongly, peppering the Growlers net with the game’s first six shots on goal. Trois-Rivières’ Ryan Francis and D-Jay Jerome missed golden opportunities from the slot that would have given the visitors the lead. A Nicolas Larivière penalty then gave Newfoundland an opportunity to create their own momentum. Lions’ netminder Philippe Desrosiers made two outstanding saves off a two-on-zero break by Brett Budgell and Jack Badini. The St. Hyacinthe native stopped all 10 shots directed at him in the period, including two big saves against Orrin Centazzo and Zach O'Brien. The teams ended the first 20 minutes of play knotted at 0-0.

The Lions had numerous power play opportunities in the second period that generated quality scoring chances, but Newfoundland goaltender Luke Cavallin was up to the task. The Lions finally managed to solve Cavallin on a two-on-one break: Jerome took a William Leblanc pass, and his precise shot found the back of the Growler net. It was Jerome’s first goal in a Lions uniform. But Trois-Rivières was then unable to take advantage of a two-man power play to increase their lead. The Growlers did not make the same mistake when a similar opportunity presented itself, and O'Brien and Zach Solow each scored within 19 seconds to give the Growlers a 2-1 lead. Only 18 seconds later, Newfoundland’s Keenan Suthers outraced everyone on the ice to go in alone on Desrosiers, and his shot beat the Lions’ goalie to make the score 3-1. Seemingly any momentum the Lions had going for them disappeared after those three goals were scored in a span of 37 seconds. However, Trois-Rivières’ Francis did convert a Nicolas Guay setup while on the power play, reducing the Growlers’ lead to a single goal after 40 minutes of play.

Newfoundland’s Jack Badini intercepted a Mathieu Brodeur pass in the Lions’ zone early in the third period to score his second goal of the season and restore a two-goal lead for the Growlers. At the midway mark of the period the Lions’ Francis scored his second power play goal of the night: The forward’s top-shelf blast got Trois-Rivières back into the game, now down by only a goal. The Lions’ attempts to level the score were noble but unsuccessful, as Cavallin put on a clinic in front of the Growler goal. Newfoundland’s Centazzo scored twice into an empty net to seal the deal, and the Growlers ultimately won by a score of 6-3.

The Lions departed Newfoundland with two points out of a possible six. Trois-Rivières will be back in action on Wednesday night against the Orlando Solar Bears at Colisée Vidéotron.