The Lions were out to put a stop to a two-game losing streak when they faced off against the Maine Mariners at Colisée Vidéotron on Wednesday night. Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and Co. could look forward to the return of Colin Bilek and Joe Vrbetic from their stints in the AHL, and the addition of four newly signed players: Pierre-Luc Leblond-Létourneau, Matthew Barron, Olivier Ouellet and Zackary Riel, all playing their first game with Trois-Rivières.
The New Englanders took advantage of a Philippe Desrosiers gaffe to open the scoring. The Lions’ goaltender couldn’t hold on to a Connor Doherty shot, ultimately giving Reid Stefanson an open net to score into. At the midway mark of the period the Mariners’ Nick Master made a beautiful play to set up Gabriel Chicoine, and he didn’t make a mistake with his golden opportunity, beating Desrosiers to make the score 2-0. Two minutes later Lions’ defenceman Connor Welsh found himself free on the blue line and his screen shot beat Maine netminder Kyle Keyser, making the score 2-1.
Making amends for his mistake in the first period, Desrosiers was brilliant in the second. His impressive save against Keltie Jeri-Leon kept the score at 2-1. Lions’ forward Nicolas Larivière then proved to be opportunistic when he intercepted a Keyser pass which led him to finding the back of the net, tying the game. Desrosiers continued to shine, making two spectacular pad saves. With a few minutes remaining in the second period, Trois-Rivières’ Ryan Francis had a great chance to score his sixth goal of the season when he went in alone against Keyser, but the goaltender made a glove save. After 40 minutes of play the teams were knotted at 2-2.
The Mariners then scored at the 1:16 mark of the third period when Alex Kyle put the finishing touch on a set-up from Cameron Askew and Patrick Shea to give Maine a 3-2 lead. Positioned in the slot, the forward beat Desrosiers with a powerful one-timer. The Lions came close to scoring in the middle of the period, but Nicolas Guay’s point-blank shot was stopped by Keyser to keep the score 3-2 in favour of the visitors. Trois-Rivières then seemed to lack energy as they attempted to tie the game late in the period, unable to create quality chances. Ultimately, the Lions fell for a third game in a row.
Trois-Rivières now heads to Newfoundland to face the Toronto Maple Leafs’ affiliate Growlers in a three-games-in-three-days series. It will be a tough test for the Lions as the Growlers lead the North Division with 41 points in 29 games.