Head coach Marc-André Bergeron and Co. were back at Colisée Vidéotron for the first of five straight home games: Friday and Saturday’s guests, the Florida Everblades, will then be followed by the Norfolk Admirals for three games in four days next week.
The Everblades got off to a great start on Friday night when Blake Winieki deflected Ben Masella's shot to open the scoring for the visitors at the 5:20 mark of the first period. But a minute-and-a-half later the Lions’ Cedric Montminy grabbed a loose puck following a face-off in the Florida zone and the captain’s perfect top-corner shot beat Everblade goaltender Cam Johnson to make the score 1-1. The goal seemed to ignite the Lions, who began to take control of the game. William Lemay, playing his first game in a Lions uniform, then skillfully deflected Connor Welsh's shot to score his first professional goal, making it 2-1 for Trois-Rivières. In the waning minutes of the period, Nicolas Guay and James Phelan broke in alone against Johnson, and Phelan made no mistake off the Guay pass giving the Lions a 3-1 lead.
Florida wasted no time mounting a comeback in the second period, when after only 16 seconds of play Winieki scored his second goal of the game by beating Lions’ goalie Francis Marotte with a low shot. The Everblades then took advantage of a turnover in the offensive zone to create a two-on-one: Pont-Rouge, Quebec native Xavier Cormier spotted Logan Lambdin alone in the slot, and his roofer leveled the score at 3-3. Three minutes later, the visitors took advantage of a power play opportunity to take the lead, 4-3, when Andrew Fyten scored off a rebound. It was the third straight unanswered goal for the Floridians. With 1:43 remaining in the period, the Lions’ Brendan Soucie took a pass from Anthony Beauregard and beat Johnson to even the score at 4-4.
It was déjà vu all over again in the third period when after just 38 seconds of play, the ‘Blades’ Winieki scored his first career hat trick off a terrific set-up from Masella and John McCarron. The Lions, however, did not give up. With his back to the goal, Ryan Francis took a Lemay pass and his great move made the score 5-5. But much to the disappointment of the 2,831 fans in attendance at Colisée Vidéotron, Florida’s Joe Pendenza gave the visitors the lead in the dying minutes of the game. The Lions then removed Marotte for a sixth attacker, but the strategy backfired when the Everblades’ Sean Josling scored into an empty net.
In what was a wild and crazy game for the full 60 minutes, the Lions ultimately lost 7-5. Newcomer Lemay made an excellent first impression by finishing the game with one goal, two assists and five shots on goal, earning him the game’s second star.