Jr. C Lions fall to Rangers

Morrisburg Lions’ captain Devon Burns fires this shot at South Grenville Rangers goalie Lee Spurgeon early in the third period of their February 13th match. Burns would eventually fire in the Lions’ only goal of the game on a power-play mid-way through the third period. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – In a rare Wednesday game, the Morrisburg Lions and South Grenville Rangers played their last match against each other this season February 13th at the Morrisburg Arena. This “Highway 401” series had seen the Rangers take all five games played between the teams so far this season. The Lions were at a disadvantage from the start with a short bench of just 14 players for the game.

South Grenville took an early 1-0 lead when team captain Carson Pickup opened scoring off a pass from Justin Saab-Brault less than three minutes into the game. A fight between Lions’ forward Cal Bilmer and Rangers’ forward Keiran Clement were tossed at the half-way mark in the period after a fight broke out. Rangers held on to their 1-0 lead going into the second period.

Chris Row sent the puck past Lions’ goalie Paulo Suppa eight minutes into the second period to extend the Rangers’ lead to 2-0. Three minutes later, Pickup made it 3-0 for the Rangers with his short-handed goal off Joe MacLean. Just 24 seconds later, Pickup polished off his hat-trick with help from Mathieu Giroux. The Lions trailed the Rangers 4-0 after 40 minutes.

In the opening minute of the third period, Cole Edgely put the Rangers up 5-0 off a breakaway. Another fight broke out about nine minutes into the period resulted in Logan Leonard (Morrisburg) and Row (South Grenville) being tossed. The resulting power-play gave the Lions a scoring opportunity that team captain Devon Burns took advantage of. A play down the line by line-mates Francis Chartrand and Justin Shay saw Burns notch his 34th goal of the season, at the expense of Rangers’ goalie Lee Spurgeon’s shut-out attempt. The Lions still trailed the Rangers 5-1. Edgely added on more goal for the Rangers with just under three minutes remaining in the game, sealing the 6-1 victory for South Grenville and the season-series sweep.

The Lions were one-for-seven on the power-play, the Rangers were zero-for-six but had a short-handed goal on their penalty-kill.

The Rangers are five points ahead of the second place North Dundas Rockets in the National Capital Junior Hockey League. One more win for South Grenville will clinch the top spot in the division.  They host the West Carleton Inferno in Cardinal February 16th. After that, the team will take on the Vankleek Hill Cougars in the league’s season-ending showcase event in Vanier on February 17th. But the Rangers’ regular season is not over yet. On February 18th, they will host the Cougars in the last game of the season before playoffs start.

Morrisburg will close out their season with three games this coming weekend. On February 15th, the Lions take on the Vankleek Hill Cougars in Vankleek Hill. Following that on game, on February 16th, the Lions will host the Gatineau-Hull Volant in Morrisburg for the team’s final home game of the season. On the 17th, the Lions will face-off against the Volant in Vanier at the season-ending NCHJL showcase.

South Grenville Rangers captain Carson Pickup celebrates after scoring his second goal of the game on Morrisburg Lions’ goalie Paulo Suppa, a short-handed goal in the second period. Pickup would complete his hat-trick just 24 seconds later. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

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