It was a big weekend for our Lions. A three-game series against the best team in the East, the Newfoundland Growlers. It was an opportunity to bring back some positives by beating the best team in the East at the end of the season.
A fading rivalry
We expected a physical match between the two teams. On the other hand, for the Growlers, it was a weekend to establish their superiority and confirm their place at the top of the Eastern standings. The Lions were the first to get on the mark through Ryan Francis, who scored his 21st goal of the season on the power play. It was the first goal of three in less than a minute for the two teams who exchanged goals. The third goal was scored by Ryan Francis, who scored his 22nd of the season and his second of the game. The first period ended with two quick goals from the Growlers, allowing them to retire to the locker room with a one-goal advantage.
For the second period, we only have one name to remember, Ryan Francis. Indeed, the small Lions striker took advantage of this period to score his third goal of the game and thus equal Anthony Beauregard’s total goals with his 23rd of the season.
Early in the third period, the Growlers put the game out of reach for the Lions by breaking the tie with Nolan Walker’s 14th goal of the season. The insurance goal came from Pavel Gogolev, who scored his first goal of the weekend but not his last.
One name in the game
Saturday’s game was one where the referee earned his pay, as they say. Many penalties were awarded throughout the game. 13 to be exact, including a fight between Simon Kubicheck and Bradley Johnson.
The two teams exchanged chances to score in a very close match. On the other hand, unlike the Lions, the Growlers were able to take advantage of their scoring chances. By the Growlers, I mean Pavel Gogolev. The young Growlers striker was all fired up and enjoyed a three-goal night, eclipsing a club record for most goals scored by a Growlers.
For their part, the Lions could only be happy with the offensive contribution of Nicolas Larrivière. Also, Lions keeper Joe Vrbetic had an excellent night stopping 27 of 30 shots he faced.
Not so happy about Easter
For the third time in as many days, we were entitled to a new goalkeeper in front of the Trois-Rivières net. This time, it was Étienne Montpetit’s turn to defend the troop’s cage.
Unfortunately for Montpetit, the team forgot to show up at the arena. From the first minutes of the match, the Growlers made their presence felt. Newfoundland forward Pavel Gogolev picked up where he left off the day before by scoring his fifth goal of the weekend. He completed the first period by scoring his second goal of the game to send the Growlers into the locker room with a 3-0 lead.
The second period was closer, at least in terms of shots on goal, because in scoring, the Growlers increased their lead by beating the rookie Lions goaltender three more times to make it 6-0 after two periods.
In the third period, we were treated to an avalanche of goals. There were five goals, including two for Marc-André Bergeron’s troops from Nicholas Guay and William Lemay. In the end, the Lions lost 9-2. On the other hand, Montpetit has nothing to reproach himself for having faced 38 shots.
Finally, the last one
As we can say, it is the last week of the season for the Lions—the final week of what has been a tough season for Trois-Rivières.
From what I’ve heard from my sources, it will be a huge off-season for Dean MacDonald because many people inside the organization are not happy about how things went. I think that significant changes are coming!
All I can say is ….. Stay Tuned