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Lions leave Norfolk with four out of a possible six points

Saturday night saw head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his Lions playing the final game of the team’s three-game series against the Admirals in Norfolk, Virginia. A Lions victory would mean not only taking the series, but also recording a second straight win for the first time since the beginning of December.

The Lions started strong and after only 1:24 of play, Cameron Cook beat Admirals netminder Cale Morris with a shot that went between the goalie’s pads. However, what appeared to be the Lions’ forward’s first goal in a Trois-Rivières uniform was disallowed as the referees had whistled the play dead prematurely. But even with that setback, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before someone on the Lions’ roster would find the back of the Norfolk net. And that proved to be the case when during a Lions’ four-on-two break Cedric Montminy’s pass to Chad Pietroniro resulted in Pietroniro scoring his first professional goal. The Lions came close to adding to their lead when Anthony Beauregard scooped up a loose puck as he came out of the penalty box. But Morris made two great pad saves, and the teams headed to their respective locker rooms with the Lions holding a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

The Admirals stormed the Lions’ net to start the second period, but Trois-Rivières goaltender Joe Vrbetic made several important saves. Eventually Norfolk’s Mathieu Roy scored off his own rebound to tie the game at 1-1. The Lions retook the lead with just over five minutes to play in the period when Francis Thibeault’s slap shot from the blue line got past Morris. Barely two minutes later, however, it was Roy once again leveling the score with his tenth goal of the season. The Lions came close to regaining the lead late in the period when Montminy and Beauregard went in alone against Morris, but Morris made a key save and the two teams ended 40 minutes of play knotted at 2-2.

Quality scoring opportunities were scarce for both teams in the third period. An interference penalty to Norfolk’s DJ King gave the Lions a chance to flex their power play muscle, and Ryan Francis’s pinpoint shot left Morris with no chance to make a save. It was Francis’s eleventh goal of the season, and it gave the Lions a 3-2 lead. The Admirals nearly tied the game when forward Danny Katic pounced on a rebound, but he missed a wide open net. The Lions could breathe a sigh of relief and held on for a 3-2 victory.

After a shaky outing Friday night when he allowed four goals on 18 shots, Lions’ goaltender Vrbetic was excellent on Saturday, stopping 28 of the 30 shots he faced. The Lions leave Norfolk with four points out of a possible six from their three-game series.