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Long season finally over for Junior B Lions

News - February 15, 2012 Edition

The Morrisburg Junior B Lions ended their disappointing 2011/12 season on home ice Sunday, with an 8-1 loss to the Casselman Vikings.

The high-point to their final three game weekend was a 6-4 win over the Char-Lan Rebels in Williamstown on Saturday night. It was their first win since Friday, January 6 when they downed the Rebels 5-2 on home ice. (They did pick up two points in a game against Alexandria, when the Glens were penalized for playing with an ineligible player.)

“If you had told me after we beat them (Rebels) on January 6 that would be our last win, I would never have agreed,” said coach Thom Racine. “I do blame that weekend on our demise.”

That weekend saw the Lions kick off play with the Friday night win in Morrisburg. They then lost to South Grenville in their early morning Showcase Game in Winchester before taking on Akwesasne, Sunday night for another loss.

Racine complained at the time that there were other teams in the Rideau St. Lawrence Division who did not play Friday night, and could have easily played the first (early-morning) game of the showcase.

“That (three losses) deflated us to the point where we never got back into it,” he said.

Racine also points out that seven of the last 12 games of the season for the Lions were against one of the ‘three-headed monster’ teams of the St. Lawrence Division. Three headed monster is Racine’s tag for the division’s top three teams, the Hawks, the Vikings and the Glens who dominate the division and have done so for a number of years.

The Lions kicked off the weekend on Friday night, February 10, in Morrisburg, with a 5-1 loss to the Casselman Vikings.

The Vikings collected a 1-0 first period lead on a goal from Joel Adam but the Lions hung tough to even it early in the second period with a Chris Rutley goal assisted by Michael Keenan and Joel Marleau.

That, unfortunately, was it for the Lions as the Vikings countered early in the third with a pair of goals scored just 44 seconds apart  by Curtis Chennette and Kyle Beauchamp.

“I thought we played well, Friday night against Casselman,” said Racine. “Shots on net were pretty even (Vikings had 47 shots, Lions 44), but we just weren’t lucky.”

Then on Saturday night, it was off to Williamstown for the 6-4 win over the Rebels.

The Rebels went up 2-0 in the first period, but the Lions came charging back in the second to out score them 4-2, and even the game at 4-4 heading into the third period.

“Saturday night, our first period was horrible. They only had 11 skaters, and we had 16 with something to prove. We played a decent second period and scored four goals, and in the third you could see they were tired.”

High points in the game were goals from Ryan Dunbar and Zach Seguin “which was huge for them.”

“Ty Hodgson scored a beauty,” said Racine. “Ty had a great weekend. He played our last two games as one of our key guys. He took the games as if there was no pressure. I am really proud of him for that.”

Marc Antoine Kamel opened the Lions scoring less than one minute into the second period with a short-handed goal. He was assisted by Brayden Girard and Michael Paquette. Dunbar counted goal number two from Sequin and Brayden Girard and then it was Sequin (from Michael Keenan) on the Lions power play at 14:53.

Chris Rutley tied the game 4-4 with help from Michel Lefebvre and Sylvester Bzdyl.

It was Rutley again, for the winner, at 1:57 of the third period, and Hodgson added the insurance with help from Bzdyl and Rutley at 16:18.

Sunday on Morrisburg ice, the Vikings went up 1-0 in the first period, and led 4-0 after two.

It was Marc Antoine Kamel (from Dunbar and Steingruber),  on the Lions power play who spoiled Alexandre Michaud’s shutout at 9:38 of the third period.

Ironically, three times this past season the Vikings were looking at a shutout against the Lions and all three times, it was Kamel who spoiled it.

Ryan Cooper played the final game of the season in the Lions net and Mikael Dion saw action on Friday and Saturday night.

Racine commended Cooper for a job well down and for the contribution he made to the team throughout the season. “He was awesome all year. He didn’t get to play much, and to come up with 43 saves against a good hockey club like Casselman on Sunday was solid.”

Racine also credits Dion for much of the Lions’ success during the season. He points to his efforts in the wins, and especially to his talent that kept the score close in many of the losses.

Dion was named to this year’s St. Lawrence Division’s second all-star team.

“Sunday was Alex Steingruber’s last game, so it was pretty emotional for him. He showed us a lot of commitment. He travelled from Montreal for two years. He just loves to play.”

The Lions ended up out of the playoffs in the St. Lawrence Division’s fifth place with 27 points. Winchester was first with 74, Casselman second with 66, Alexandria third with 51 and Char-Lan fourth with 31. The Akwesasne Wolves were sixth with 21 points.

Chris Rutley, who rejoined the Lions in late November from the Westport Rideaus, was the Lions’ top scorer with 47 points on 23 goals and 24 assists. Rutley was the Lions top scorer in the 2009/10 season.

Alex Steingruber and Sylvester Bzdyl both finished the year with 36 points, both with 15 goals and 21 assists. Michel  Lefebvre who signed with the Lions in late November was next with 28 points.

The Lions scored 154 goals in their 42 game schedule and gave up 230.


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