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Mission accomplished! Lions force a Game 7!

The Lions had no choice: they had to win a second consecutive game against the Newfoundland Growlers in Game 6 in order to force a deciding Game 7 in the North Division semi-final series. After winning two of three games at Colisée Vidéotron last week, head coach Éric Bélanger's squad travelled back to St. John’s for what they were hoping would be two more games.

The start of the game could not have gone any better for the Lions: They scored just one minute into the game on their first shot on goal. Positioned in the slot, Cédric Montminy took a pass from Max Kaufman and beat Growlers’ netminder Keith Petruzzelli with a top-shelf marker. However, the Growlers responded four minutes later to tie the game when Gordie Green took advantage of a defensive mistake to put the puck behind Lions’ goaltender Philippe Desrosiers, making it 1-1, and that score would stand after 20 minutes of play.

The Lions scored the first two goals of the second period within a span of 24 seconds: Peter Abbandonato and Brenden Locke gave the Lions a two-goal lead before the period was five minutes old. However, a poor play by Desrosiers on a Lions’ power play enabled Derian Plouffe to narrow the gap to one goal, and then five minutes later it was Jeremy McKenna finding the back of the net. Just like that, the teams were back to square one. And as we were thinking the teams would be headed into the second intermission tied at 3-3, the Lions’ Alexandre Fortin found an open Olivier Galipeau and the defenceman’s perfect shot gave the Lions a 4-3 lead with 31 seconds left in the second period.

At the start of the third period, Anthony Nellis redirected a Peter Abbandonato pass on a two-on-one to give the Lions a two-goal lead. Up 5-3, Trois-Rivières then attempted to protect its lead and protect Desrosiers’ goal while at the same time continuing to press offensively. Midway through the third period, Locke converted an Alexis D'Aoust's pass to score his second goal of the game to make it 6-3. The Growlers tried to get back into the game and Tyler Bolland scored with just over three minutes to go. However, Josh Brook sealed the win for the Lions with an empty net goal, giving Trois-Rivières a 7-4 win.

This was without question the Lions’ best performance so far in the series. The team started the game firing on all cylinders and were successful in forcing a seventh and deciding game. Once trailing 3-1 in the series, the Lions have clawed back having won the last two games to necessitate the ultimate showdown on Tuesday evening.

Game #7 of the Lions vs Growlers will be broadcast on Flosport. To watch the game live click here.