In the last week, the Morrisburg Junior B Lions have been giving their fans something to talk about as they went to work to win three in a row, one of which was against the undefeated St. Lawrence Division, first place Casselman Vikings.
The Lions kicked off their three-game streak, the first in many seasons, on home ice Saturday, October 18, when they disposed of the Westport Rideaus by a 13-6 score.
Then it was off to Casselman last Thursday, October 3, when the Lions did what no other team has managed so far this season…collect points from the Vikings in a 2-1 overtime, shoot-out victory.
They posted win number three on home ice Saturday night, when, with Keiran Weir unbeatable in net, they blanked the Brockville Tikis, 5-0.
They were stopped by a 4-3 loss from the Akwesasne Wolves Sunday, on Cornwall Island.
“It felt very exhilarating,” said coach Mark Evans of the win over Casselman last Thursday night. “The boys were ecstatic. They knew all their hard work had come down to that. They stuck to the game plan, blocked up the lanes, and when they got into trouble they played smart.”
“There was some really great goaltending at both ends of the ice (Gianmarco De Meis was in net for the Vikings), and it was a good game of hockey to watch. It was really good to see the kids rewarded for their hard work.”
All of the game scoring took place in the second period with Maxime Choquette putting the Vikings on the board just 3:25 in. At 5:09, Jacob Kendrick with help from Landon Veenstra, struck for the Lions to even it and that’s the way it stayed, tied 1-1 through regulation play.
After a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout for a decision.
Dallas Blacksmith was first up for the Lions, and his success was cancelled by Grant Hebert.
Michael Paquette then counted for the Lions and when Sebastien Plante was unsuccessful in his attempt against Keir, the Lions were in the driver’s seat.
However the goaltenders had it covered. Neither Jacob Kendrick for the Lions nor Taylor Widenmaier was successful, and the Lions picked up two points for the 2-1 shutout win.
Back home on Saturday night, with Weir again in net, the Lions pounced quickly on the visiting Westport Rideaus. They went up 2-0 in the first period, and led 4-0 after two as they worked their way to the 5-0 victory.
Michael Paquette (from Justin Rutley and Jordan Smail) and Cole Fowler (from Cole Beckstead) provided the Lions first period goals.
In the second period, it was Landon Veenstra (from Dallas Blacksmith) and Jacob Guillot (from Ryan Griffin and Dylan Nixon).
Their final goal was scored on their power play, by Dallas Blacksmith, with help from Cole Beckstead and Jacob Kendrick.
“Keiran played two stellar games,” said Evans. “It was good to see, and it was great for him to get back-to-back wins.”
Sunday, the Lions winning streak was ended by the Akwesasne Wolves, 4-3.
“We were asleep at the switch. We weren’t ready to go,” said Evans. “The effort and intensity wasn’t there, especially in the first period.”
In the first period, the Wolves went up 3-0 on two goals by Zack Seguin and one from Derik Dionne.
The Lions got one back on their power play at 16:36 of the second period from Brodie Barkley, assisted by Cole Blanchard and Jacob Kendrick.
Then just 1:18 into the third period they cut the gap to 3-2 with a Dallas Blacksmith counter assisted by Jacob Kendrick and Tanner Hummel.
Six seconds later, Isaac Barr beat Lions goaltender John Bilmer to again give the Wolves a two-goal edge.
Some intense play followed, but the Lions ran up against a hot Cory Garrow and managed only one more from Zack Renfrew, assisted by Curtis Evans and Ryan Griffin.
“It’s all about being ready to start,” said Evans. “We almost did it (recovered) but we ran into their hot goalie. He’s solid, and they had only 36 goals against going into the game. When they get three or four goals against you, you are going to have your work cut out against him to get back into it.”
Despite the loss, Evans says the Lions are “happy with the progress, but we are not resting on our laurels. We need to keep working and to tighten up our defence. Your offense will win you games, but your defence will win you championships. We should be looking at two to three goals against per game.”
The three win run, helps to pull the Lions up in the St. Lawrence Division standings. They remain in fifth place in the six team division with 10 points, just two back of the Winchester Hawks and Akwesasne Wolves tied with 12. Both the Hawks and Wolves have two games in hand over the Lions.
The Alexandria Glens are in the division’s second spot with 13 points, and the Casselman Vikings top the chart at 19 points with nine wins and the shoot out loss to the Lions.
Coming up the Lions are in Winchester against the Hawks Saturday night, November 1.