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Lions suffer heartbreaking OT loss

Looking to extend their winning streak to four games, and playing their final road game of the regular season, head coach Éric Bélanger’s Lions faced off on Saturday night against the Worcester Railers for the second time in less than 24 hours. Both teams are fighting for one of the two remaining playoff spots in the North Division.

The home team started the game strongly with quality scoring chances in the opening minutes of play, but Lions’ goaltender Arturs Silovs was unbeatable, making several key saves. Mathieu Gagnon – returning after a two-game suspension – ultimately put Trois-Rivières on the board first. The Railers applied pressure to equal the score before intermission, but Silovs would have no part of that and the score after 20 minutes of play had the Lions ahead 1-0.

Only 42 seconds into the second period, Lions’ forward Tim Vanstone made the score 2-0 with a shorthanded goal. Vanstone celebrated his return to action in spectacular fashion by leading a two-on-one rush and Railers’ netminder Ken Appleby had no chance to stop his pinpoint shot. The Lions smothered the Railers’ offence throughout the period and the teams headed into the second intermission with the Lions leading 2-0.

Just when it looked like the Lions were headed towards a 2-0 victory, the Railers stormed back to tie the game at 2-2. In the span of one minute, Worcester’s Max Newton and Austin Osmanski were finally able to figure out how to beat Silovs, and the teams headed towards overtime. It took less than two minutes for the Railers’ Steve Jandric to play the role of hero when he found a loose puck in front of the Lions’ net and spoiled what had been a strong performance by the Lions’ goalie.  

The Lions will need to put this heartbreaking loss behind them quickly as they’ll be back on Colisée Vidéotron ice on Tuesday night against the Adirondack Thunder for the first of the team’s final four regular season games. The four home games – the final three are against the Railers – will no doubt all be of crucial importance as the team continues its chase for a playoff spot.