The Lions were back in action at Colisée Vidéotron on Wednesday to play the first of a three-game series against the Norfolk Admirals. Head coach Éric Bélanger and his players were looking to carry the momentum garnered from the team’s performance on Sunday afternoon in Orlando to notch a second consecutive victory.
No sooner had the puck dropped to open the first period when the Admirals' leading scorer, Aidan Brown, found himself alone in the slot, but Lions’ goaltender Joe Vrbetic was up to the challenge to keep Norfolk off the scoresheet. At the midway mark of the period the Lions’ Alex Breton and Pierrick Dubé led a charge into the Admirals’ zone and Dubé made no mistake against Norfolk netminder Tomas Vomacka, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead. Less than three minutes later, Norfolk’s Jake Smith fooled Vrbetic with a somewhat casual shot to tie the game. The Lions took advantage of a power play opportunity to retake the lead towards the end of the first period. Positioned in the slot, John Parker-Jones took Cédric Montminy's pinpoint pass to score his first goal of the year, and the Lions went into the intermission with a 2-1 lead.
At the start of the second period Dubé scored his second goal of the game on another power play off a one-timer, with assists going to Breton and Ryan Francis. The Lions got unlucky when Aaron Thow's shot deflected not once but twice before finding its way into the back of the Lions’ net, narrowing the gap to just one goal. But the Lions seemed determined to prevent the visitors from making a comeback. Nicolas Guay forced a turnover in the defensive zone, which allowed the home squad to generate a four-on-two break. Olivier Galipeau took a pass from Anthony Beauregard and found himself alone in front of Vomacka, scoring with a shot between the goalie’s legs. Hoping to light a spark, Norfolk head coach Jeff Carr changed goalkeepers by replacing Vomacka with Michael Bullion. However, Dubé gave Bullion an auspicious welcome by scoring with a targeted wrist shot. It was Dubé’s first hat trick in the professional ranks.
Even with his hat trick in hand, Dubé wasn’t satisfied. Alone in the slot, the 21-year-old forward came close to finding the back of the net for a fourth time, but Bouillon made a split-second save. The Admirals tried to get back in the game when Cody Milan scored on the power play to close the gap to two goals, but it was Trois-Rivières that had the best scoring opportunities thereafter. Francis had a sure goal stolen by Bouillon who made a spectacular glove save off a breakaway. The Lions’ Riley McKay sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with less than three minutes remaining.
The Lions’ 6-3 win was the team’s second consecutive, accomplished for the first time this season. Trois-Rivières will be back in action on Friday night against the Admirals once again in a game devoted to the “A Mustache for My CH” challenge.