MORRISBURG – The Morrisburg Jr. C Lions started 2018 with a pair of 5-3 wins in their first games back from the Christmas break. The Lions defeated the last place Bytown Royals January 5th, followed by frustrating the second place Gatineau-Hull Volant at home January 6th.
The Lions hit the scoreboard early in the first period of their game against the Royals when Alec St. Gelais scored four minutes into the game, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Bailey Norman’s unassisted, short-handed goal increased the Lions’ lead to 2-0.
The Royals scored early in the second period when Nickolas Spirito-Dupuis got around Lions goalie Dean Gauvreau on the Lions’ power play. Lions still led 2-1. Brian Landry increased Morrisburg’s lead on a play with St. Gelais and Anthony Caserta. Late in the second period Ryan Evelyn brought Bytown back to within one. Less than 30 seconds later, Zach Leblanc picked up his 10th goal of the season for the Lions. Morrisburg led 4-2 going into the third period.
Bytown brought the game again to within one goal when Spirito-Dupuis scored unassisted with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Morrisburg forward Brandon Cameron scored shorthanded with less than three minutes left. The Lions won their first game of the season 5-3.
St. Gelais had three points (one goal, two assists) in the game, while the team drew only 10 minutes of penalties total. The Royals had 33 penalty minutes.
Following the victory against the Royals, the Lions hosted the Gatineau-Hull Volant. The second place Volant are in a tight race for the top of the NCJHL standings, along with the Papineau Vikings and North Dundas Rockets.
Gatineau drew first, scoring five minutes into the game when Mathias Roy bested Gauvreau in net. Volant led 1-0.
Five minutes later, Leblanc, helped by Thomas Ouderkirk, tied the game at one goal apiece on the Lion’s second power play of the night.
Into the opening minute of the second period, Denis Gratton put the Volant ahead of the Lions 2-1. Gatineau’s lead lasted 15 seconds when Jacob Kendrick’s unassisted goal tied the game again at two goals apiece. The game remained tied 2-2 into the third period.
Morrisburg took the lead early in the third period when Ouderkirk picked up his seventh goal of the year. Three minutes later, Cal Bilmer set up Cameron, putting the Lions up 4-2.
Short-handed and on the penalty kill, Leblanc and Landry crossed into the Volant’s end heading for the net. A play in the corner had Volant goalie Andrew Lariviere come out far to the left of the net. He couldn’t get back in time leaving the net wide open for Landry to score for Morrisburg. Morrisburg led 5-2 at that point.
Gatineau’s Charles St. Denis scored on a power play with 31 seconds left in the game. The Lions picked up their second win in a row, improving to a record of six wins, 15 losses, one tie for 13 points.
They now sit one point back of the ninth place South Grenville Rangers in the standings and visit the Cumberland Bandits January 13th.