Major-Midgets trail Rebels, face elimination

Lions trail Rebels in semi-final series – Lions forward Joey Hannaford (center, #15) moves in against Rebels forward Mathieu Giroux during game one of the Major-Midget B Rep semi-final series between South Dundas and Char-Lan. Hannaford and Giroux each had a goal during game two of the series March 19th, as the Rebels defeated the Lions 5-3, tying the first-to-five point playoff series at two points each. The teams met for game three in Morrisburg March 21st with the Lions losing 3-1. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

Char-Lan leads semi-final series four points to two.

MORRISBURG – The South Dundas Lions face elimination in Williamstown Thursday night, following back-to-back losses in games two and three in their Major-Midget B Rep semi-final series against the Char-Lan Rebels.

The March Break interrupted hockey playoffs, with two weeks passing since the last time the teams met. In game one of the series, the Lions doubled the Rebels in their first game of the series 6-3 on March 5th. They met for game two March 19th.

The teams werescoreless until late in the first period when the Rebels scored back-to-back goals by Landon Fraser and Mathieu Giroux, taking a 2-0 lead. Lions goalie Mason McLeod was substituted for Sam Waytowich after the first period.

Char-Lan added another goal five minutes into the second period on a breakaway by Findley Hope. The Lions trailed the Rebels 3-0.

Lions forward Joey Hannaford answered back a minute later one-timing a shot past Rebels goalie Kamden Sabourin. The Lions continued to trail the Rebels 3-1. The Rebels regained their three-goal lead 30 seconds later with a goal by Harrison Fraser.

South Dundas cut Char-Lan’s lead in half with two minutes remaining in the second period off a goal by Dean Lapier. The Lions trailed the Rebels 4-2.

Two minutes into the third period, Alexi Paquette scored on Waytowich, making it 5-2 Rebels. Nicholas Brugmans scored with four minutes remaining for the Lions, but a late period rally by the team fell short. The Rebels defeated the Lions 5-3, tying the first-to-five point series at two points each.

The teams met again March 21st in Morrisburg at the Morrisburg Arena.

The game started off with a scoreless first period, which had some drama. An early goal by the Lions was called back due to the Char-Lan goal being knocked loose from its moorings. With two seconds remaining in the period, Char-Lan picked up a double minor penalty, allowing the Lions to start the second period on a power play.

A minute into the second, the Rebels picked up another penalty, giving the Lions a full two minutes of five-on-three hockey. Less than a minute later, Travis McInnis scored on a rebound from Ben Fingler, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead.

The Lions held the lead until half way through the second period when the Rebels got back-to-back goals past Lions starting goalie Sam Waytowich. The Rebels’ goals (Kurt Alexander, Alexi Paquette) were scored less than 30 seconds apart.

South Dundas attempted a come back in the third period. As the clock wound down, the team pulled their goalie for the extra player. With 49 seconds remaining in the game, Paquette went down ice and scored on the empty net, sealing the Lions fate. Rebels defeat the Lions 3-1.

The embattled Lions team is down to ten players heading into game four tonight. With three players out for suspension and others out due to injury or illness, Head coach Jamie Smith told The Leader he will be calling up affiliated players for the game in Williamstown.

Game four tonight (March 22nd) is a must-win game for the Lions. The Rebels need a tie or a win to move on to the final, the Lions must win their next two games.

Game five, if needed, will be in Morrisburg March 23rd at 8 p.m. The winner of the series will advance to the league final against the Brockville Braves, who defeated the South Grenville Rangers in three games straight.