Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his Lions returned to action Tuesday night after a five-day holiday break. Trois-Rivières was looking for a second consecutive victory in front of their fans, following up from the team’s win against the ECHL’s second-best team in the form of the Worcester Railers on December 21.
There was a festive atmosphere at Colisée Vidéotron right from the opening faceoff, with 3,214 fans in attendance to cheer on the Lions against the Adirondack Thunder. Lions’ netminder Philippe Desrosiers gave the home crowd something to cheer about early in the game with a kick save in the opening minute. Then a few moments later he made a spectacular glove save to keep the game scoreless. Trois-Rivières’ Ryan Francis, who had the game-winning goal against the Railers, came close to opening the scoring when he went in alone against Thunder goalkeeper Isaac Poulter, but couldn’t find the back of the net. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before the Lions would get on the scoreboard, and midway through the period Anthony Beauregard finished off a terrific set-up from Francis and Santino Centorame to score his twelfth goal of the season and give the Lions a 1-0 lead. Desrosiers was solid in goal, stopping all 14 shots directed towards him in the first period, allowing the Lions to go to the locker room with a one-goal lead.
The Lions came out strong early in the second period, constantly applying pressure against the Thunder and their goaltender Poulter. A Nicolas Larivière wraparound fooled the Thunder netminder, making the score 2-0 for the Lions. And then Mathieu Brodeur came close to giving Trois-Rivières a three-goal lead, but his shot hit the post. During a Thunder power play Desrosiers made a spectacular save on a two-on-nothing Thunder break: He read the play perfectly and his pad save maintained the Lions’ 2-0 lead. But another Adirondack power play resulted in a Colin Long goal via a deflection off a Jeff Taylor shot, narrowing the Lions’ lead to a single goal.
The visitors had a great scoring opportunity early in the third period when Travis Broughman took advantage of a breakdown in the Trois-Rivières defence. But once again it was Desrosiers to the rescue with a pad save. The Thunder’s Ryan Smith then tied the game at 2-2 with a play that resembled Adirondack’s first goal: The forward managed to deflect a shot from one of his defencemen to beat Desrosiers. With less than two minutes to go in the period, it was Smith once again beating Desrosiers to give the Thunder their first lead of the game. The Lions desperately tried to tie the game in the dying seconds, but Poulter made two sensational back-to-back saves off Cédric Montminy and Beauregard to negate the need for overtime. Final score: Adirondack-3, Lions-2.
The Lions return to action Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. to conclude the two-game series against the Thunder. Then the team is off to Portland, Maine for a two-games-in-less-than-24-hours series against the Mariners.