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Joe Vrbetic slams the door against the Royals

Thursday, March 9th
Joe Vrbetic slams the door against the Royals

The Lions were back at Colisée Vidéotron to conclude their four-game series against the Reading Royals on Wednesday night. Trois-Rivières was looking to replicate their Sunday afternoon performance against the Royals when they erased a two-goal deficit to ultimately register a 6-4 victory.

The Lions’ Ryan Francis-Brett Stapley-Thomas Caron line had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring in the game’s early moments, however Royals’ netminder Pat Nagle made a key save. Reading then took matters into their own hands, bombarding Trois-Rivières’ Joe Vrbetic, but the Lions goalkeeper was solid, ultimately stopping all 14 shots he faced in the first period. Two saves were of highlight-reel quality, especially one against Royals' leading scorer Charlie Gerard who was denied by a Vrbetic pad save. After 20 minutes of play, the teams headed into intermission scoreless.

Much to the delight of the 1,884 fans in attendance at Colisée Vidéotron, the Lions started the second period full throttle. At the 5:50 mark, Francis used his blazing speed to enter the offensive zone and then fired a perfect top-shelf shot to give the Lions a 1-0 lead, with assists going to Caron and Stapley. Although not as busy as he was in the first period, Vrbetic continued to stand tall, making several key saves. With less than 30 seconds left in the period, the Lions’ Cedric Montminy and Cédric Lacroix both had scoring opportunities, but Nagle didn’t give an inch, and so the Lions ended the period remaining ahead 1-0.

The Lions kept up the pressure in the third period. Santino Centorame’s blast from the blue line gave Trois-Rivières a 2-0 lead: His shot somewhat surprisingly found its way into the top of the net, and based upon his reaction it was clear that Nagle never saw it coming. A minute and a half later the Lions’ James Phelan took a Stapley pass, and his shot found the back of the net to make the score 3-0. A violent hit by Reading’s Adam Eby on Anthony Beauregard sent Beauregard to the locker room and he would not return. The hit ratcheted-up the hostilities between the two teams, and while only one penalty was assessed over the first two periods, there were two fights and 58 penalty minutes awarded in the game’s final 10 minutes. Trois-Rivières’ Lacroix’s low shot got past Nagle to make the score 4-0. And while Vrbetic deserved to record his first shutout in the professional ranks, Shane Sellar finally put Reading on the scoreboard with 1:14 left in the game.

The Lions skated off with a 4-1 victory, their second in a row against the Royals. Trois-Rivières now heads to Adirondack to face the Thunder on Saturday and Sunday.

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