After knocking off South Grenville in three games to win the Upper Canada Minor Hockey League Atom C House East Division championship, the Lions ran into a little more than they could handle against the North Leeds Rideaus.
The Lions opened strong in the five point UCMHL championship series in Westport on Friday, March 22, two claim the first two points up for grabs with a 1-0 victory.
After two periods of scoreless hockey, Kolby Latulippe put the Lions on the scoreboard late in the third period with help from Mackenzie McKee-Markell.
That was all that was required as Lions goaltender Olivia Salmon shut the Rideau’s down to hold on for a shut out and the 1-0 Lions win.
Then on Morrisburg ice on Saturday, March 23, the Rideaus came back to even the series with a 3-0 victory, with Nick McConnell scoring a hat trick.
The series, tied at two points apiece, returned to Westport last Monday, March 25, where the Rideaus took charge, this time with a 5-2 win.
After a scoreless first period, the Rideaus out-scored the Lions 4-1 in the second period as they set their sights on the win.
Kolby Latulippe scored the two Lions goals with Devon Swindells assisting on both and McKee-Markell helping out on the final.
Jacob Adrain and Robbie Sharpe had two goals each for the Rideaus and Nick McConnell beat Salmon for a single.
The win put the Rideaus into the series driver’s seat with four points to the Lions two and pushed the series to the fourth game played in Morrisburg, on Tuesday, March 26.
The Lions needed nothing less than a win to stay alive Tuesday night, and it looked like they were well on their way with a 2-0 lead after the second period.
But the Rideaus came back with a vengeance in the third. Nick McConnell was the big gun for the Rideaus with two goals to tie the game, his final coming with just 1:19 left on the clock.
Although the tie was enough for the Rideaus to claim their needed fifth series point they got one more from Jacob Adrain in the empty Lions net.
Scott Brooks scored the Lions first goal with help from Rachel Nicolaassen and Trent Rae, and Brooks provided the helper on a Cassidy Bilmer tally late in the second period.