Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and Co. were back in action Friday night, playing for the second time in 24 hours. Following Thursday’s 4-2 victory at home over the Adirondack Thunder, the Lions traveled to Portland, Maine to take on the Mariners.
The Mariners took advantage of the Lions’ grueling three-games-in-four-nights schedule to dictate the tempo of the game for the first five minutes. Maine’s Alex Kile and Mitchell Fossier both had excellent scoring opportunities, but Trois-Rivières netminder Philippe Desrosiers stood his ground. Desrosiers’ stops appeared to motivate the Lions and the team began to apply pressure of their own: James Phelan took a Cédric Montminy pass to go in alone on Maine goaltender Francois Brassard, but the Mariners’ goalie was up to the challenge with a glove save. A few seconds later, Karl El-Mir grabbed a loose puck behind the Maine net and the forward was able to beat Brassard for his first goal in a Lions uniform, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead. However, with less than three minutes remaining in the first period Maine’s Alex-Olivier Voyer’s one-timer beat Desrosiers, and the teams headed to their respective dressing rooms knotted at 1-1.
Trois-Rivières started the second period with a quality scoring chance: Nestled in the slot, Jason Horvath’s shot was stopped by Brassard, but Ryan Francis pounced on the rebound to score what he thought was the go-ahead goal. Unfortunately for the Lions, however, the referee blew a quick whistle, wiping-out the Lions’ goal. Trois-Rivières then displayed a lack of discipline, and the Mariners took advantage of a power play to retake momentum, producing several good scoring opportunities. Desrosiers shone when challenged by Patrick Shea, Tim Doherty and Matthew Santos and kept the score level at 1-1. But as the expression goes, if you play with fire you’re going to get burned. On another power play, Maine’s Doherty passed to Fossier whose low shotfound the back of the Lions’ net and made the score 2-1.
At the start of the third period, the Lions’ El-Mir picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat Brassard with a top-corner backhand, and the game was level once again, now at 2-2. Close to the midway mark of the period, Maine’s Fossier eluded two Trois-Rivières defenders and found himself alone in front of Desrosiers. The Mariners forward made the most of his opportunity and his precise shot restored the home team’s lead. As the Lions attempted to get back into the game, Fossier, once again, took a Doherty pass and fooled Desrosiers, completing his hat trick. The Mariners’ Shea took advantage of a late-game Lions’ empty net to put the game out of reach. Final score: Maine - 5, Trois-Rivières - 2.
The Lions have now lost four out of six games to the Mariners. The team will try to end the calendar year on a high note on Saturday night against the Adirondack Thunder in Glens Falls, New York.