The South Dundas Atom B Rep Lions were the underdogs as they went into their playoff round two against the powerful league leading Char-Lan Rebels, and despite a valiant effort they lost the two point series in two games straight.
The Rebels led the league with a 22 win, 2 loss regular season record and their high powered offence led the league with 134 goals scored in the 24 games.
They didn’t let up in the series. They led off with a 6-2 win on their home ice, Friday night, February 26 and then finished it off 6-3 in Morrisburg on Sunday.
Friday night, the Rebels scored early and the Lions were never able to catch up to the speed of the game. Scoring for the Lions in this one were Monty Dejong(on the Lions first shot to tie it 1-1) and then Wyatt Barkley backhanding the puck to the back of the net after grabbing the rebound from a Ben Radley point shot.
The Lions “Game Champ” was Kloe Lewis, for having the most consistent fore check of all the Lions. Lewis took time and space from the Rebels all night.
The Lions quickly licked their wounds and prepared for game two at home on Sunday.
The Rebels carried the play for the first couple of shifts, but Quade Mullin turned them aside.
The Lions started to “push” back once everyone got their first shift in and got rid of their “butterflies”and they were rewarded with the opening goal when Barkley fired a low shot past Nicholas Baird, with James Martens and Cam Shaver picking up the helpers.
Then with 20 second left in the first period the Lions were penalized. Shaver, however, won the draw and got the puck to Nick Connors who, instead of firing it down the ice, skated it. After skating over his blueline, he gained speed in the neutral zone, crossed the Rebels line, deked the Rebels defender, and fired a high hard one on goal.
The puck hit Baird up high with the rebound bouncing up and over Baird and into the goal enabling the Lions to skate into the second period with a well deserved 2-0 lead.
The Rebels pulled to within one with an early power-play goal from Dylan Levac and erased the two goal lead with 3:48 when Levac scored again.
The next shift was huge…would the Lions buckle or would they “push” back.
It took a mere nine seconds to find out.
Shaver won the draw to McCooeye who skated the puck in wide, then gave the hulking defenceman an inside, outside move before skating the puck towards the goal then firing to the five hole to regain the lead 3-2.
The Lions took the 3-2 lead into the third.
But the Lions had the league leading Rebels on their heels and they tied it 3-3 just over a minute in with a Addisson MacDonell.
Then the least penalized team in the league ran into some trouble.
The Rebels took their first lead with 5:42 left on the clock thanks to another power play goal from Besner.
A second Lions penalty gave the Rebels a five on three man advantage, which set the stage for some dramatics.
Dejong, like teammate Nick Connors, grabbed the puck and skated the length of the ice going through Rebel defenders and then wristing it past Tommy St. Louis to tie it a 4-4, with 3:30 remaining.
The Lions played tough and escaped the Rebels power play, but the Rebels gained the Lions zone seconds after the penalty kill had ended and McLeod used a powerful wraparound to put the Rebels up 5-4 with 1:22 left.
The Lions pulled Mullin for an extra attacker but were unable to tie it up.
It was definitely a heartbreaker and a tough pill for the Lions to swallow. However they played a solid game and had the top team in the league “on the ropes” for the majority of the game.
The Lions “Game Champ” for this one was the entire “Team” for playing three periods of “Lions Hockey”.