Lions Playoffs-More of the Same; Another Dramatic Comeback Overtime Victory
As we all move our clocks ahead one hour, and the sun fails to shine its warmth on our frigidly stubborn winter, the Lions men’s hockey team will once again attempt to impose its will on Division 1 rivals this spring. Winning 5 titles in the last 7 years places the team in an enviable position. It also brings out the pressure of winning that most players accept when they decided to attend Saint Lawrence and become a Lion. Believing and investing in winning the ultimate prize comes at a price. Winning without investing is not very exciting, while a defeat deprived of commitment does not hurt very much. It is fair to say that the team’s investment history has created its share of excitement over the years on this account. Essentially, as with many successful causes at the college, caring is the foundation for stirring emotions and pushing everyone to extend their limits and go above and beyond for the greater good. This is the Saint Lawrence Legacy we all know. For the hockey program, it is another attempt to become the “best team in April” and win a sixth Division 1 Hockey title. We all hope to share this experience with our community again. It is our goal.
Last week’s March break became March boot-camp for the Lions as they prepared on the ice, in the video room and classroom for the quarter-final round against Saint-Hyacinthe. After winning their wild card match up against Lafleche, Saint-Hyacinthe had the benefit of being play-off game ready compared to the Lions who had not played since February 26th. Although the team practiced very hard, the boys game shape was a far cry from the usual build-up required to start a series opener with their usual swagger. It was obvious early in the game that Saint-Hyacinthe was able to enforce their way, building a decisive 2-0 lead after the first period. The second period was looking better for the Lions after graduating senior, David Lavoie scored an early powerplay goal, narrowing the gap to a one goal lead. Unfortunately, the tide turned quickly, with Saint-Hyacinthe reclaiming a second two-goal lead that lasted into the second intermission. Down 1-3, the Lions were outshot 28-18 after two periods, plagued by uncharacteristic turnovers, missed scoring opportunities and errant passing. As the Zamboni circled to prepare the ice for the third period, so did the leaders and coaches, calling the veterans to circle the wagons and to get ready for another “adversity redressment smack down effort”. It was time to give life to another play-off slogan, “as you believe, you become!!”
Lions Division 1 rookie of the year, Mathieu Gosselin narrowed the deficit to 3-2, roofing the a top-shelf water-bottle exploder 26 seconds into the period, Once again, the momentum shifted, making way for another visitors’ goal that could have extinguished one more dramatic play off comeback attempt by the Lions. Ironically, this proved to be an important game changer. Relentless, Mathieu Gosselin continued his scoring magic, feeding off Marc-Andre Guy’s playmaking ability with 7 minutes to go in the period. One-minute and 14 seconds later, David Lavoie engineered a spectacular individual play to set up Alex Tremblay for the tying goal. The action was feverous and one-sided, with the Lions outshooting their opponent 18-5 in the final period. Regulation time had both teams even at 4 goals, setting the theatre to claim another overtime hero. 34 seconds into the first period of overtime, Mathieu Gosselin completed a memorable three-goal evening, converting a point shot rebound from 3rd year senior Pierre-Luc Dion.
The script seems to be re-writing itself, marking another “copy-paste” dramatic come from behind victory that has been part of s many Lions championships. With several games to play, the Lions need to start each game stronger to avoid over-draining from the limited well of good fortune that has favoured the Lions on many occasions throughout their 5 championship years.
The Lions now travel to Saint-Hyacinthe Friday, March 17th, looking for St Patrick’s luck of the Irish to help them close the series on hostile ice. Should a third and final game become necessary, Lions will host Saint-Hyacinthe, Sunday at 15h30 at their home rink in Ancienne-Lorette.