Jr. C Lions pluck Eagles, head for playoffs

Hat trick? — Morrisburg Lions forward Jeremy DaPonte takes a shot late in the third period against Eagles goalie Miguel LaRoche, looking to finish his hat trick for the game. DaPonte had two goals in the Lions 5-2 win over the Eagles. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG — The Morrisburg Junior C Lions hockey club are heading to the playoffs. It took a single-game playoff against the St. Isidore Eagles February 14th at the Morrisburg arena to do it, with the Lions beating the Eagles 5-2. This is the first time the Morrisburg Lions hockey club has been in a playoff series since the 2010-11 season when the club still played at the Junior B level.

Patrick Landry put the Lions on the scoreboard first during a power play in the latter half of the first period. The Eagles were called on a tripping penalty by Patrick Ranger giving Morrisburg the man advantage. Zack Leblanc and Quinn Bennis set Landry up in front of the Eagles net, the Lions take the lead 1-0.

Four minutes into the second period, Benoit Gillis and Tanner Hummel sent the puck up ice to forward Brian Landry to give the Lions the 2-0 lead. The Eagles countered three minutes later with Jacob Belanger beating Lions goalie Dean Gauvreau, cutting the Lions lead to one. J. Philippe Souligny had the assist.

Halfway through the second period, a pass from Jordan St. Louis found Jeremy DaPonte on the power play, who buried it in the Eagles net, Morrisburg leads 3-1.

Brian Landry’s breakaway goal with 2:43 left in the second gave the Lions a 4-1 lead as they headed to the final period of the game.

Frustration set in for the Eagles which led to multiple penalty calls against the team in the third period. Morrisburg went on the power play after an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Eagles forward Nick Souligny. Lions captain Tanner Hummel sent a pass up ice to Patrick Landry, who set up DaPonte for the goal, Morrisburg led 5-1.

Lions assistant-captain Patrick Landry heading up-ice on the Lions power play. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

Later in the third period, Souligny would be sent out of the game on a two and ten; two minutes for cross-checking, and a ten minute game misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct. DaPonte had a chance to finish the hat trick but was stopped by LaRoche.

Five goals was enough though to give the Lions the win. Final score, Morrisburg Lions 5, St. Isidore Eagles 2. The effort earned the team the eighth and final spot in the NCJHL playoffs, and a standing ovation from the packed home crowd.

The Lions out shot the Eagles 37-26.

Lions head coach Joe Hummel had nothing but praise for his team after the win.

“Probably the best effort from every kid on the team this year,” Hummel told The Leader. “I’ve gotta praise the guys, nothing stupid on the ice, we didn’t take stupid penalties tonight.”

The team has struggled with penalties throughout the year but tightened their game in the stretch for the playoffs.

“It was a good game. The goal-tending was solid, Dean played well all game,” Hummel said.

Sportsmanship after a hard-fought game — Members of the Morrisburg Lions and the St. Isidore Eagles lined up after the February 14th playoff game to shake hands. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

The Lions travel to Embrun to take on the Panthers Friday, February 17th for game one of the playoffs. Game two is on Saturday, February 18th at the Morrisburg arena. Game three will be played at the Morrisburg arena Sunday February 19th. Results from those games will be in the February 22nd edition of The Leader.

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