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What a win for our Lions! Bring on Game 6!

Saturday night the Lions played their third consecutive playoff game in front of their fans at Colisée Vidéotron. Facing a do-or-die scenario, head coach Éric Bélanger's team had no choice but to find a way to win and force a Game 6 in the semi-final series against the Newfoundland Growlers.

Much to the dismay of the home fans, it was the Growlers and not the Lions who opened the scoring. Just slightly over three minutes into the game, Newfoundland’s Tyler Boland took a pass from Zach O'Brien and his pinpoint shot beat Lions’ netminder Philippe Desrosiers. But this seemed to ignite the Lions who then peppered Growlers’ goaltender Keith Petruzzelli. A great set up from Olivier Archambault gave Peter Abbandonato a golden opportunity, but Petruzzelli was up to the challenge, preventing Abbandonato from scoring his second goal of the series. Shortly thereafter Alexis D'Aoust took matters into his own hands: The Lions forward made a terrific deke on a Growlers defender and he found himself alone in front of Petruzzelli. D’Aoust had no problem outsmarting the Growlers’ goalie with a magnificent backhand fake. D’Aoust’s goal tied the game and the teams headed into their respective locker rooms knotted at 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.

The Growlers took command once again in the second period and swarmed Desrosiers' net repeatedly. The Lions’ goalkeeper was solid, most notably thwarting Zach O’Brien on a breakaway with a pad save. However, Tyler Boland, again, took advantage of a rebound to regain the lead for the Growlers with under four minutes to play in the period. But just 24 seconds later the Lions’ Cédric Montminy deflected a Mathieu Brodeur shot to even the score at 2-2, The fans at Colisée Videotron were euphoric, and the teams finished 40 minutes of play deadlocked at 2-2.

In the third period the Lions quickly showed that they were determined to extend their playoff journey. Trois-Rivières’ Alexandre Fortin’s nice rush drew two defenders, and he was able to see D'Aoust coming from the opposite side of the ice. Fortin’s pass to D’Aoust enabled him to go in alone on Petruzzelli, and he made no mistake with yet another spectacular fake. The Lions took the lead for the first time in the game, 3-2, with just over 10 minutes remaining. Desrosiers then took care of the rest, as he was rock solid in goal and made several key saves ensuring the Lions maintained their lead. Final score: Lions-3, Growlers-2. Game 6 of the best-of-seven North Division semi-final series will be Monday night in Newfoundland.

It was quite a performance by the Lions who once again showed their never-say-die attitude. They were determined not to have their season end in front of their home fans. Next stop is St. John’s, Newfoundland as the Lions will attempt to complete a historic comeback.