Maine’s François Brassard blanks the Lions
Lions head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his crew were looking to avenge Friday night’s 4-2 loss in Portland, Maine to the Mariners. The second game of the two-day home-and-home series was being played at Colisée Vidéotron, where Trois-Rivières could count on the support of a loud and boisterous crowd.
However, the Mariners wasted no time to dampen the large crowd’s spirits. After only 4:16 of play, Maine’s Cameron Askew made a great entry into Lions territory. He was unable to take a shot, but teammate Reid Stefanson grabbed a loose puck and was able to slot it past Lions’ netminder Francis Marotte. Then a few minutes later the visitors took advantage of a three-on-one break to double their lead: Mathew Santos passed to Stefanson who once again found the back of the net, making it 2-0. The Lions came close to narrowing the gap when Cedric Montminy found himself alone in the slot, but Maine goalie François Brassard made an impressive save. The Lions enjoyed a power play opportunity late in the period, but a Ryan Francis shot was stopped by Gatineau, Quebec native Brassard with a pad save. After 20 minutes of play, the Mariners were ahead 2-0.
Momentum completely reversed in the second period when the Lions were undoubtedly the more dominant team. Unfortunately for the home side, however, they were facing a goaltender who was proving to be unbeatable. Positioned in the slot, Anthony Beauregard had a sure goal stolen by the Mariners’ netminder. A penalty assessed to Maine’s Gabriel Chicoine a few minutes past the midway mark of the period gave the Lions another power play chance, but once again Brassard stonewalled them, making spectacular saves on Nicolas Guay and Cameron Cook. With just two minutes remaining in the period, Conner Bleackley completed a terrific play initiated by Stefanson and Santos to make it 3-0 for the Mariners. Despite outshooting Maine 14-6, the Lions returned to their locker room down by three goals after 40 minutes.
The third period was a carbon copy of the second, with the Lions once again completely dominating play. But Brassard remained rock solid, making several key saves. At the midway mark of the period the Lions’ Thomas Caron took a Beauregard pass to go in alone against Brassard, but the Mariner netminder was yet again up to the challenge and prevented Caron from scoring his second goal in as many games. Then it was Nicolas Guay’s turn to experience the frustration during a Trois-Rivières power play, as Brassard made an excellent pad save. With less than eight minutes remaining in the period, Maine’s Santos outplayed the Lions’ Connor Welsh and then passed over to Askew who scored into an open net to give the visitors a four-goal lead. The fans at Colisée Vidéotron thought they’d finally get to see a Lions goal when Francis beat Brassard, but his backhander dinged off the post. Ultimately, the Lions were never able to solve Brassard on this night, who finished the game collecting a shutout having stopped all 41 shots he faced.
It was a disappointing evening as the Lions lost for the second time in 24 hours to a Maine team that was powered by the Santos – Stefanson - Askew trio, who collected an impressive 11 points off the four Mariner goals.