Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his Lions were welcomed back by their home faithful at Colisée Vidéotron for the first of a two-game series against the Iowa Heartlanders. The Lions not only wanted to put a stop to the Iowans’ three-game winning streak, but also were aiming to extend their own home-winning streak to four.
Right from the opening puck drop, the Heartlanders showed that they didn’t travel all the way to Trois-Rivières just to be bystanders. Unfortunately for them, however, is that they came up against a razor-sharp goaltender in Philippe Desrosiers, who stopped every challenge he was faced with and kept the game scoreless. After Iowa’s Cole Stallard and Ryan Wheeler each hit the crossbar, the Lions applied pressure of their own, scoring three goals in less than five minutes. Ryan Francis, Anthony Beauregard and Santino Centorame (his first in the professional ranks) all found the back of the net, much to the delight of the Colisée Videotron fans. Trois-Rivières entered the first intermission with a 3-0 lead. In the second period the Lions picked up right where they left off:
After only three minutes of play, Olivier Galipeau made a terrific burst into the offensive zone to come in alone on Heartlanders’ goaltender Trevin Kozlowski, and his backhander made the score 4-0. William Leblanc registered his third assist of the game on the Galipeau goal. Apparently Iowa head coach Derek Damon had seen enough and replaced Kozlowski with Corbin Kaczperski. The Heartlanders seemed energized by the move, and Alec Broetzman recovered a loose puck in the slot to thwart Desrosiers. The Lions didn’t take too kindly to lose the shutout and immediately stormed the Heartlanders’ net, but quality scoring chances from both Nicolas Guay and Brett Stapley were unsuccessful in Trois-Rivières’ attempt to restore their four-goal lead.
Even with their lead, the Lions did not stop applying pressure during the third period. Alex Breton made a beautiful play to set up Colin Bilek who was alone in the slot, but the forward was unable to thwart Kaczperski, who made a crucial save to keep the margin at three goals. A few minutes later during a Lions’ power play, Galipeau skated right past the Iowa defence corps, and although came close to scoring his second goal of the game, the Heartlanders’ goaltender made a pad save. The visitors desperately tried to stage a late-game comeback, and although Broetzman did notch his second goal of the game late in the third period, it was too little too late, and the Lions came away with a 4-2 victory.
It was Trois-Rivières’ fourth consecutive win at Colisée Vidéotron. It was also the first victory this season for Desrosiers, who performed admirably by stopping 32 of the 34 shots directed at him. The Lions will be back in action Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., for the final game of the two-game series against Iowa.