The Morrisburg Junior B Lions are slowly creeping up to the finish line of the 2011/12 season and with the end now in sight it appears they should be able to remain out of the St. Lawrence Division’s basement position.
In fact, mathematically it is still possible that they could end up in fourth spot for a playoff position but it is a mathematical equation that includes two games against the second place Casselman Vikings and the third against the Char-Lan Rebels.
“We would need to win all of our games and Char-Lan would have to lose all of their games,” says discouraged Lions coach Thom Racine who has experienced a season that at no time saw a full Lions bench…for one reason or another.
The latest was the absence of goaltender Mikael Dion who was prevented from making last Tuesday night’s game against the Rebels in Williamstown due to a snowstorm. Dion travels faithfully from the Montreal area.
Then less than one minute into the game Michael Poapst set up Michel Lefebvre for a beaut of a goal, but caught watching the puck and was labelled by a Char-Lan defenceman.
The concussion puts Poapst out for the remainder of the season.
After the injury, the Lions were unable to get it together and the Rebels went on to build a 2-1 first period lead, as they headed for the 8-5 win.
After two periods the Rebels were ahead 6-3, the Lions counting a pair of power play goals from Brayden Girard and Chris Rutley.
The Rebels stretched it to 8-3 early in the third period and the Lions added two more late in the frame from Michel Lefebvre and Sylvester Bzdyl.
Thursday night, February 2, the Lions travelled to Casselman where they were defeated 7-1.
“We played a pretty good game against Casselman,” said Racine. “I know people will ask how you can say that when you lost 7-1, but I really wasn’t disappointed in our play.”
The Vikings led 3-1 after the first period and added another two goals in each of the second and third periods.
Marc Antoine Kamel, with help from Sylvester Bzdyl scored the lone Lions goal while the Lions were short-handed in the first period.
“We proved we could play with them Thursday night,” says Racine. “We just can’t score. You work so hard and you get no reward ant then they skate down the ice and boom. I felt our kids showed up to play Thursday night and I wasn’t disappointed.”
Then on Saturday night, the Lions were in Alexandria without the services of Chris Rutley who was sitting out a game for having had his third fight this year during the Tuesday night, Casselman game.
The Lions left the Alexandria rink, with their second consecutive 7-1 loss, but as they would find out later, there should have been more than just Chris Rutley sitting out.
An Alexandria player had, likewise experienced his third fight during the Glens game Friday night in Winchester and should not have played against Morrisburg.
When the game sheets were submitted the league officials noted that he had played and the game was awarded to Morrisburg.
“We played pretty well in Alexandria. They scored three quick goal late in the first period and we went into the second period down 4-0. I told the boys just to out and fight back, and they did. We out shot them in the second period and hit a couple of posts and a leg. I thought at least we battled back.”
The lone Lions’ goal was scored by Michel Lefebvre assisted by Clark Veenstra and Ryan Ward.
To finish out the season, the Lions have signed Jessie Brown from Metcalfe. “We had one card open and with the loss of Poapst, we figured we could use an extra body,” says Racine.
The Lions will end their regular season this weekend.
They will host the Casselman Vikings twice, on Friday night at 8:15 p.m. and again on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. (make-up game). Saturday night they are in Williamstown for a 7:45 p.m. match against the Char-Lan Rebels.
As the St. Lawrence Division teams head into the final weekend of play, stats show that the Winchester Hawks and the Casselman Vikings have locked up their first and second place finishes. Alexandria has secured third place and Char-Lan holds fourth place with 31 points. The Lions are next with 25 and the Wolves are in the basement with 21.