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Lions Bites: Thunderstrike

Trois-Rivières continues to hold pace with the top teams of the division.

Lions de Trois-Rivières

The Lions de Trois-Rivières completed their streak of seven straight away games with two wins in three tries, splitting a series with the Adirondack Thunder before beating the Maine Mariners by shootout.

Player movement

The Lions completed their first trade of the season, sending Anthony DeLuca to the Kansas City Mavericks for future considerations. All future-consideration deals must be completed before June 13. DeLuca did pretty well with the Lions, but as players began coming back from the Laval Rocket, and hot new upstart William Leblanc quickly earning his stripes, DeLuca was seen as expendable.

Besides this trade, it was a fairly uneventful week for the Lions, with uncharacteristic roster stability. If you love player movement, you will love the ECHL.

Thursday night, Lions lose to Adirondack, 5-3

It’s odd to say, but even though most games in the ECHL are divisional games, this was the first meeting for the Lions against the Thunder this season, with half the schedule already played.

Trois-Rivières had the advantage in the first period, however Thunder goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos stopped all 15 shots directed at him as the Thunder were able to score first.

The Lions returned fire in the second period, scoring twice in the first half of the frame to take the lead, first by the returning Shawn St-Amant, back from purgatory with the head coach, followed up by the first ECHL goal for Francis Meilleur since 2013.

In a rarity for the Lions this season, the wheels fell off at this point, as the Thunder scored two goals in the second and two more in the third period to pull ahead 5-2, including an empty-net goal. Nicolas Larivière scored in the final minute for the Lions to bring them within two, but it was too little too late.

Saturday night, Lions win vs. Adirondack, 6-3

The Lions did manage to score the first goal in the second game against the Thunder, but two goals by Adirondack in the second period gave them the lead again. Anthony Nellis quickly scored a goal to tie the game at two.

The Lions decided to blow the game wide open in the third period, scoring three goals in 150 seconds to take a 5-2 lead. First Mathieu Brodeur, then Jonathan Joannatte, and finally Leblanc netted his first goal, and third point of the game.

Adirondack replied quickly to bring the game back to within two with half a period to go, but Justin Ducharme ended the Thunder’s hopes of a comeback.

Anthony-Carmine Pagliarulo kept his end of the bargain by stopping 32 of 35 shots for his first professional win in his third start.

Sunday night, Lions beat Mariners 3-2 in shootout

Captain Cédric Montminy missed the game due to a lower-body injury, replaced by Cédric Desruisseaux who played in his first game in over a month. He would have the final word in this game.

Tristan Bérubé was solid in net for the Lions all game, in the first period especially as the team was called for two early penalties. He made a few difficult saves to keep the game scoreless.

With seven minutes on the board, Cam Hillis won a faceoff in the Mariners’ zone after yet another icing, and made his way to the net as the puck made its way to the blue line in a set play. A quick shot by defenceman Olivier Galipeau got deflected by Hillis, who scored his first ECHL goal of the season.

The Mariners took a penalty early in the second period, and on the ensuing power play the Lions held the puck in the Mariners’ zone for a full 90 seconds before Alexis D’Aoust found Charles-David Beaudoin streaking in from the blue line. The rebound was picked up by Leblanc, who tapped into a wide-open net.

The Lions had a chance immediately after the goal as the Mariners took a bench minor prior to the faceoff, but they were unable to score another power play goal, and at 2-0 the momentum began to shift. Midway through the second, the Mariners got their first odd-man rush of the game, and Bérubé was unable to squeeze the puck on the initial shot. It trickled out from under his pads, and was tapped in to bring the Mariners within one.

After dominating them all third period, the Mariners eventually did tie the game up as the Lions uncharacteristically lost a lead late. Bérubé bailed out the team with 20 seconds left, stopping a semi-breakaway.

An exciting seven-minute overtime made no master, so a shootout was necessary to close this game out. Desruisseaux was the only shooter to score, with Bérubé stopping all three attempts.

Top Performers of the Week

  • William Leblanc (2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points)
  • Alexis D’Aoust (4 assists)
  • Nicolas Larivière (1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points)
  • Cam Hillis (1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points)

What’s next?

The Lions are playing a three-game set at home against the Maine Mariners on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

The ECHL announced that, in the event that they are unable to reschedule all postponed games, final team rankings will be done by points percentage, and not point totals. By this measure, the Lions are sitting comfortably in third place in the North Division, with the Newfoundland Growlers within reach. The Reading Royals lead the division.