With a 5-0 victory against the Worcester Railers on Friday night, the Lions de Trois-Rivières are headed to the ECHL post-season in their inaugural year.
It took up to the penultimate game of the season to secure the berth, as well-documented personnel challenges in February and March sunk the Lions in the standings after a dominant month of November when the Lions won seven games in a row, including a three-game sweep of the Florida Everblades on a successful marquee road trip for the team.
The Lions have one more game to play on Saturday afternoon to complete their regular-season schedule.
Their next step will be to submit the playoff roster to the League by 3:00 PM on April 18. The rules around this step are actually quite strict in order to ensure that ECHL teams don’t load up the playoff roster with players from higher leagues.
- The first, and most basic requirement, is that to qualify for the ECHL playoff roster, a player must have played in at least five ECHL regular-season games.
- NHL- and AHL-contracted players must also meet the following criteria in order to be eligible:
- AHL One-Way and Two-Way Contracted Players (non-veterans) – No AHL games played requirements
- AHL One-Way and Two-Way Contracted Players (veterans) - must have appeared in five (5) AHL regular season games (i.e., taken at least one shift). No exemptions permitted.
- NHL Contracted Players and all Goaltenders – there are no additional requirements in terms of games played in the NHL or AHL to be eligible for inclusion on a Member’s Playoff roster.
- In order to appear on a Member’s Playoff Eligible List, a recalled NHL/AHL contracted Player with no ECHL rights attached must have also played in (i.e. taken at least one shift) at least one (1) game for the Member during the Regular Season.
Every team must submit:
- A minimum of 19 active, available (i.e. not injured or on recall) players
- A list of all other players who meet the Playoff Roster Eligibility requirements, but who are unavailable at the time that Playoff Rosters are due to the League Office due to recall to the AHL or NHL. The Playoff Eligible List may only list Players who are unavailable due to recall. All other players (i.e. injured Players) must be listed on a Member’s initial Playoff Roster (active roster or reserve list) in order to participate in the Playoffs.
- Throughout the Playoffs, but prior to the start of the Conference Finals, as the recalled Players listed on a Member’s Playoff Eligible List become available (due to assignment, release from PTO or their respective AHL teams’ seasons having ended), Members shall be permitted to supplement their initial Playoff Rosters with Players listed on their Playoff Eligible Lists, up to a maximum of 24 Players total*. Once a Member has named a total of 24 Players to its Playoff Roster, or the Conference Finals have begun (whichever comes first), the Member’s Playoff Roster shall be fixed for the duration of the Playoffs (barring emergency conditions). (* The 4 player reserve above the 20-player active roster has not been confirmed by the League yet, but sources indicate that this will be the case this year)
- A Player who has finished the Regular Season on Injured Reserve may still be named to a Member’s 24-man Playoff Roster and will be eligible to participate in the Playoffs once his full IR time has been completed (provided all other playoff eligibility requirements have been satisfied). Once a Player has fully completed his remaining IR time, he may be activated and placed on the Member’s Active Roster.
- Emergency conditions shall be established when the playing strength of the Member, by reason of injury, illness, recall or suspension by the League, is reduced below two (2) goalkeepers and sixteen (16) skaters. However, should a Member release a Player(s) from its Playoff Roster, its emergency conditions will drop by the same number as the Players they release. Only amateur Players may be signed and added to the Active Roster under emergency conditions.
With the eligibility and roster requirements outlined above, here is the potential Lions playoff roster:
PLAYOFF ROSTER (ACTIVE ROSTER + RESERVE SPOTS)
- Alexis D’Aoust (F)
- Justin Ducharme (F)
- Anthony Nellis (F)
- Tim Vanstone (F)
- Brenden Locke (F)
- Jonathan Joannette (F)
- Cédric Montminy (F)
- Nicolas Larivière (F)
- Max Kaufman (F)
- Julien Nantel (F)
- Olivier Archambault (F) [Day-to-day, virus]
- Alexandre Fortin (F) [Day-to-day]
- Shawn St-Amant (F) [Injured Reserve 19/03, broken jaw]
- Hayden Shaw (D)
- Mathieu Brodeur (D)
- Mathieu Gagnon (D)
- Josh Brook (D)
- Bradley Johnson (D)
- Luke Orysiuk (D)
- Francis Thibeault (D) [Injured Reserve 3/04]
- Philippe Desrosiers (G)
- Arturs Silovs (G)
- Carmine-Anthony Pagliarulo (G)? [Injured Reserve 17/03]
- Connor Welsh? (D)
- William Leblanc? (F) [Injured Reserve 9/04, concussion]
PLAYOFF ELIGIBLE LIST BUT UNAVAILABLE DUE TO RECALL
- Olivier Galipeau (D)
- Peter Abbandonato (F)
- Cameron Hillis (F) [Injured]
There are a few difficult decisions looming. The Lions have a total of 25 players on the roster plus on injured reserve. Right off the bat they will have to leave one player off of the playoff roster, meaning that that player’s season comes to an end on Saturday.
It will come down to the third-string goaltender Carmine-Anthony Pagliarulo, the seventh defenceman Connor Welsh, or William Leblanc who is on the IR for a second time because of a concussion. Head coach Eric Bélanger said that he didn’t know if we would see him again this season, indicating that perhaps he will be the name left off of the list.
The next question is whether to leave open roster spots for the players who are currently unavailable, with Olivier Galipeau immediately being a top-pairing defenceman and Peter Abbandonato immediately being a top-line centreman.
Unless he is loaned by the Rocket for tomorrow’s Lions game, Terrance Amorosa would not be eligible for the ECHL playoffs because he did not play five regular season games with the Lions.
The Lions are likely to face off against the Newfoundland Growlers in the first-round matchup. The Growlers would host the first two games of the best-of-seven series between Wednesday, April 20 and Sunday, April 24.
The Lions would then host games 3-5 in a window from Tuesday, April 25 to Saturday, April 30.
Games 6-7, if necessary, would go back to St. John’s between Monday, May 2 and Wednesday, May 4.