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Lions leave Utah with two losses and a win

On Sunday afternoon, the Lions were looking to bounce back after suffering their first defeat in almost two weeks the night before. In order to get back into the win category, head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his players would need to beat the Utah Grizzlies in their third and final meeting of the season.

Right from the get-go, both teams seemed lethargic as the pace of the game was much less dynamic than it was in the first two matchups. In the middle of the first period, Utah’s Dakota Raabe got lucky when Cédric Montminy’s clearing pass inadvertently hit the Grizzlies’ forward and bounced into the Trois-Rivières’ goal, giving the home side a 1-0 lead. Shortly afterwards the Lions’ Brett Stapley made a great fake on the Grizzly defence corps before making a pass to Nicolas Guay, but Guay was unable to beat Utah netminder Trent Miner. With just over a minute left in the period, Lions’ goaltender Joe Vrbetic thought he had control of the puck, but Victor Barkley thought otherwise, and his goal put Utah ahead 2-0.

The second period once again saw the Lions pay the price for a lack of discipline. Nestled in the slot, Utah’s Cam Strong converted a set-up from Cameron Wright and Andrew Nielsen to record his first goal of the season, making the score 3-0. Two minutes later, it was Tyler Penner’s turn to add his name to the score sheet: The forward made no mistake with a rebound and his pinpoint shot beat Vrbetic. Head coach Bergeron tried to shake things up by replacing Vrbetic with Philippe Desrosiers, but the Lions remained unable to create quality scoring chances. At this stage of the game tempers began to flare with three fights breaking out. Riley McKay, John Parker-Jones and Guay all dropped their gloves in an attempt to ignite their teammates, but their efforts were in vain, and the Lions entered their locker room down 4-0 after 40 minutes of play.

While the second period saw a total of 46 penalty minutes assessed, the third period was much calmer as both teams appeared content to see the final seconds tick off the clock. The Lions failed to score in the last twenty minutes of play, and the game ended with a 4-0 defeat. Desrosiers performed well by stopping the ten shots he faced after coming in to relieve Vrbetic.

Trois-Rivières ended the weekend with a second consecutive defeat in a game in which nothing seemed to go the Lions’ way. The team will return to action at Colisée Vidéotron on Friday against the Iowa Heartlanders.