Even if it was the last game of the season, the fans were ready to make the party! It started with a nice tailgate with hot dogs and hamburgers in the parking lot, but that festive vibe followed the fans inside the arena.
The Lions Show Their Claws
We saw a lot of scrappy play early in the game from both teams.
The Adirondack Thunder was the first to sign up for the brand. A magnificent pass from the Thunder’s best player, Patrick Grasso, allowed Sebastian Vidmar to score his 14th goal of the season. The Lions’ reply came from the stick of Nicolas Guay in front of the net. By the halfway point in the period, the Lions dominated in shots 11-4.
In the 12th minute, Nicolas Larivière went with a nice deflection to score the 2nd goal for the Lions, just after a scoring opportunity from Adirondack.
Afterwards, we witnessed a big play from Nicolas Guay who managed to get rid of his cover to make a pass to Anthony Beauregard who only had to drop into an empty net for the Lions’ third goal.
A Second Period Without History
The start of the 2nd period was just as disjointed. The Lions were the victim of a flutter in defense which offered an excellent scoring chance for the Thunder, who didn’t know how to capitalize on it.
Throughout the period, Adirondack had a lot of scoring chances. After buzzing around Desrosiers’ net, a hole in the Lions’ defense allowed the Thunder to score a goal from Grant Jozefek’s stick on a nice pass from Ivan Chukarov.
The game’s first penalty occurred at the end of the 2nd period on a slashing from Nicolas Larivière. Following an unsuccessful power play, the Lions retreated to the locker room with a one-goal lead.
A Positive Endpoint
The start of the 3rd period was much more convincing for both teams. There were several chances to score on both sides. The referee called a high-sticking penalty on Adirondack’s captain Shane Harper, but after a consultation between the four officials, the decision was overturned, and we continued at five-on-five.
About halfway through the period, William Lemay and Zach Kaiser missed a golden opportunity at an empty net, which could have put the final nail in the coffin. Despite a tripping penalty late in the game to Brandon Schulz, Brady Fleurent came alone in front of Desrosiers, but the puck ended up on the post. It was enough for the Lions to make a counterattack that led to Beauregard’s goal.
With 3:30 to go in the game, Adirondack withdrew their goalie. Shortly after, Zach Kaiser scores the Lions’ 5th goal in an empty net to secure a win and put a positive touch to this hard season.
Cheers, And Off To The Next Season
Now, for the Lions, it’s time to take time off and focus on the next season. Of course, the faces of the franchise might change a lot. During the post-match interview, general manager and head coach Marc-André Bergeron told us he found the season hard and exhausting. He will reflect on what happened this season, talk to his family about the double duty, and will eventually make a decision on whether or not he is coming back as the head coach for the team.
We also talked to Anthony Beauregard, who broke a couple of records for the Lions this season. He loved the season even though it was difficult as a team. He liked his experience with the Lions and wants to repeat the experience but wants to speak with his agent before making any decisions considering his future. One thing is clear in his mind, he wants to stay in North America. Let’s see what the future holds for him.
Last but not least, our captain, Cedrick Montminy. It was a pensive Montminy who appeared before the media. The new dad did not hide his disappointment with the last campaign. He took the opportunity to tell us that he was injured three weeks ago, and this injury will require a complete stoppage of his activities for a period of several weeks. This break will allow him to think about his future, he has made it clear that he has possibly reached his highest level by being in the ECHL. Of course, we hope that our captain will be back to lead our team to the playoffs next season, but as we say, family first.
On that note, I’m wishing all a good summer. Stay tuned, I’ll post team updates when I have some.