Lions’ winning streak comes to an end at five
The Lions squared off against the Utah Grizzlies for the second time in 24 hours on Saturday night, and no doubt new head coach Marc-André Bergeron was hoping to continue the team’s winning streak after having won his first game in his new role as bench boss by a 6-4 score. Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers returned to mind the Trois-Rivières net after having been on the sidelines with a lower body injury since November 13.
The Lions’ Brett Stapley made a magnificent play right at the start of the game, but the forward was unable to record his first goal of the season. Following that missed opportunity, head coach Ryan Kinasewich and his Grizzlies immediately took advantage of a man advantage situation to open the scoring with Andrew Nielsen finding the back of the Lions’ net with a powerful shot from the blue line. However, the Lions quickly responded when it became their turn to go on the power play: Once again it was John Parker-Jones with a blast that beat Utah netminder Garret Metcalf and level the score at 1-1. A few minutes later Trois-Rivières’ Riley McKay was the recipient of a perfect pass from Nicolas Guay and he found himself in all alone on Metcalf. The forward made no mistake, notching his fourth goal of the season. The back-and-forth continued just two minutes later when Utah’s Tyler Penner scored off a rebound from the slot and the teams were knotted 2-2. The home side then fell victim to a lack of discipline, being penalized twice on the same play and thereby giving the Lions a two-man advantage. Anthony Beauregard made no mistake, and the forward regained the lead for the Lions with a shot from the blue line.
While the first period featured an offensive outburst with five goals, the second stanza was much quieter in terms of scoring chances. Both teams made intermission adjustments to limit turnovers that could lead to quality scoring opportunities. However, a penalty assessed to the Lions’ Colin Bilek got the Grizzlies back in the game: Brycen Martin beat Desrosiers to bring the teams even once more at 3-3. The Lions’ attempts to regain the lead proved unsuccessful, especially when Metcalf made a big save on Bilek who had been left alone in the slot. The two teams retreated to their respective locker rooms level after 40 minutes of play.
The Lions started the third period firing on all cylinders: At the 38-second mark Nicolas Larivière scored his third goal of the weekend when he pounced on Connor Welsh's rebound to give Trois-Rivières a 4-3 lead. But the Grizzlies were clearly in no mood to lose for a sixth straight time and Keaton Jameson and Zach Tsekos scored back-to-back goals to give Utah a 5-4 victory. Tsekos' goal was the fifth power play goal that the Lions surrendered in the past two games, and Trois-Rivières will have to find a way to maintain their composure on Sunday afternoon if they want to leave Utah with four out of a possible six points.
The Lions' winning streak now ends at five, and the team is sporting a 6-3-0 record in the month of November. Puck drop for the third and final game of the series against the Grizzlies is 5:10 p.m. Sunday.