Battle of Champlain: Cougars and Lions play off series tied 1-1

The Lions travelled to Lennoxville to face the Cougars in the first game of the best of five series Friday night. The game showcased end to end action that saw teams exchange one-goal leads on three different occasions. Both teams retired after twenty-minutes of shutout hockey. The second period set the stage for a 3-2 showdown allowing the Cougars to take a one-goal lead into the third period. Lions rookie, Gabriel Bernier, tied the game 1-1 on a power play. Mathieu Bussières then added the go-ahead goal pushing the Lions ahead 2-1 at the 17-minute mark of the second period. This lead was short lived when the Cougars replied with two goals before the end of the second frame.

Early in the third period, Lions centre and rookie, Charles Larue, squared both teams at 3-3. The Cougars countered three minutes later, taking a 4-3 lead that held late into the final frame. They completed their scoring with their 5th goal after St. Lawrence goal tender, David Duquet had been pulled by head coach Guy Chouinard. The coaching staff agreed that it was a disappointing series-opening loss for the young and inexperienced Lions. Learning from our mistakes and competing on every shift will be keys to extending the series and giving St. Lawrence an opportunity to win.

A very different script was written by the Lions who hosted the Cougars in the bounce back game played Sunday in Ancienne-Lorette. Jeremy Descheneaux scored during a Lions power play, shifting the early momentum that had been created by the Cougars’ transition speed and scoring chances in the first five minutes of the game. Shortly after, Descheneaux scored again on a breakaway attempt that energized the Lions for the remainder of the game. The boys competed hard, winning races and battles all over the ice.

Team captain, Hugo Guillemette scored early in the second frame, building the Lions lead to 3-0. Mathieu Bussières then got the Lions off to a great third period start allowing the Lions to take a comfortable 4-0 lead. Jeremy Descheneaux added the final marker of the game, completing his first RSEQ play-off hat trick on a great set up by Hugo Guillemette. Lions net minder, David Duquet stopped 42 Cougar shots, registering his first play off shut-out. It was a united effort, with 20 players working together to make this win possible.

The Battle of Champlain is now knotted at 1 victory apiece. The best-of-5 series moves to Lennoxville next Saturday for game three while the Lions will host the Cougars for game 4 on Sunday, March 17th at 18h30. Come join us and help us celebrate the Irish with a home win on St.Patrick’s Day.

Mike Labadie