Friday night marked the first game of the three-games-in-three-days series between the Lions and the Newfoundland Growlers at Mary Brown’s Centre in St. John’s. The opening half of the first period was somewhat tranquil, with few shots on goal recorded. Things then changed suddenly and dramatically when the Lions’ Ryan Francis scored at the 10:45 mark to put Trois-Rivières ahead 1-0. Only 25 seconds later, however, Newfoundland’s Ryan Chyzowski scored to even things up. And that was only the beginning of the goalscoring fireworks. Trois-Rivières’ Francis found the back of the net yet again, less than a minute after his first tally. The Lions’ Nicolas Guay was called for hooking at 18:15, allowing the Growlers to go on the power play. Renowned for their man advantage prowess, it only took Newfoundand’s Jonny Tychonick nine seconds to even the score at 2-2. And then at 19:36 it was Keenan Suthers giving the Growlers a 3-2 lead.
The offensive outburst of the second half of the opening period wasn’t replicated in the second period, with only one goal being scored. That goal came off the stick of Francis yet again, as he registered his first professional hat trick. Lions’ netminder Philippe Desrosiers was stellar in goal, making some great saves and allowing Trois-Rivières to keep pace with the North Division leading Growlers.Newfoundland showed that their dominance in the North Division is no fluke as they took charge in the third period, scoring two goals: The first by Nolan Walker and the second by Pavel Gogolev on the power play. Although there were not many shots on goal in the game (the Lions had 16 and the Growlers had 25), the shots that reached the net tended to be dangerous. Ultimately, the Growlers registered a 5-3 win over Trois-Rivières. Game two of the three-game series goes Saturday with puck drop at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The Lions will be looking for revenge!