Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and his Lions were back in the friendly confines of Colisée Vidéotron for the first of a two-game weekend series against the Adirondack Thunder on Saturday afternoon. The Lions were counting on the support of their fans to help put a stop to the team’s three game losing streak.
You’d never have known the team only returned home from their Friday night encounter in Portland, Maine at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning: At the 00:29 second mark of the first period, the Lions’ Anthony Beauregard snared a rebound and beat Thunder netminder Jake Theut for his 14th goal of the season. Trois-Rivières’ Santino Centorame came close to doubling the home side's lead midway through the period on a three-on-one break, but Theut made not one but two saves. Adirondack tied the game when forward Nick Hutchison deflected an Xavier Parent shot with just over three minutes remaining in the period. But with only 13 seconds left in the opening frame, the Lions’ Brendan Soucie stole the puck from a Thunder defender and beat Theut, restoring Trois-Rivières’ lead. The score after 20 minutes of play saw the Lions ahead 2-1.
The Lions couldn’t have asked for a better start to the second period: At the 00:09 mark, forward Cédric Lacroix finished a beautiful set-up from Beauregard and Cédric Montminy with a backhand deke to give the Lions a 3-1 lead. However, the Thunder replied just over a minute later when Hutchison scored his second goal of the game to make the score 3-2. The Lions continued to mount pressure of their own and Bradley Johnson scored his first goal in a Lions’ uniform with a shot from the blue line to make the score 4-2, courtesy of some good work by Soucie. Adirondack obviously had no intention of giving up the ghost and once again it was just over a minute later when Grant Jozefek found the back of the Lions’ net with 3:10 remaining in the period. The see-saw battlecontinued 44 seconds later when forward Ryan Francis restored the Lions’ two-goal lead. Positioned in the slot, Francis took a Dillon Hill pass and his top-shelf shot beat Theut. After 40 minutes of play the Lions were ahead 5-3.
Much to the dismay of the 2,512 fans in attendance at Colisée Vidéotron, the Thunder came out guns blazing in the third period: At the 2:17 mark, Adirondack’s Ryan Orgel beat Lions goalie Francis Marotte with a shot from the blue line to reduce Trois-Rivières’ lead to 5-4. And then at the halfway mark of the period the Thunder’s Parent scored to even the game at 5-5. The Lions tried their best to regain the lead, but Theut would have nothing of it. The Thunder goalkeeper was sensational, fending off many quality chances. With 3:10 remaining in the period the Lions’ Thomas Caron made a magnificent play to get past two Adirondack defenders and went in alone against Theut, but once again the Adirondack goalie rose to the occasion, thereby forcing overtime. The Lions had come too far to let victory slip through their fingers, and Brett Stapley used remarkable patience before unleashing a top-shelf shot to give Trois-Rivières an overtime victory. It was the Lions first win at Colisée Vidéotron in 2023 and no doubt the team will be looking to repeat this performance on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in the second of the two-game series against the Thunder.