The Morrisburg Junior B Lions, put their 2012-13 opening game 5-2 loss to the Glens in Alexandria on Friday night behind them here Sunday afternoon to come up with a very well-played 6-2 victory over the visiting Winchester Hawks.
“I guess you could look at it in one way,” said first-year coach Dan Frawley. “They (Alexandria) played really well in their home opener, and we played really well in our’s.”
“We had a lot of mistakes going on in Alexandria. They pressured us a lot and we buckled under the pressure.”
The Glens hit quickly and hit hard Friday night against Lions’ goaltender Ryan Cooper going up 3-0 in the first period. They stretched it to 5-0 with goals at 10:57 and 11:11 of the second period, before the Lions settled down and got back into the game.
According to Frawley, Cooper played really well and the Lions had their chances but, “we didn’t capitalize”.
Then on Sunday, it was a whole new game, as the Lions went to work on the visiting Hawks.
Veteran Lion, Chris Rutley counted the season’s first goal on Morrisburg ice, at 13:11 of the first period with the Lions short two players.
The Lions held on for the remaining minutes of the frame. They got a big effort from goaltender Mikael Dion who shut down a two on one Hawks play with a spectacular glove save with just four seconds left on the clock.
In fact, Dion’s experience and maturity showed on many occasion throughout the game as he held the Winchester shooters at bay.
The Hawks came to life midway into the second period with goals from Mathew White (powerplay) and Josh Renaud which gave them a 2-1 lead.
But it was short-lived.
The Lions charged back with goals from Grant Cooper, Rutley’s second, Ty Hodgson on the power play and Clarke Veenstra, short-handed, to carry a 5-2 lead into the third period.
Third period action saw the Lions work extremely hard and successfully on their penalty kills, and some more outstanding work from Dion.
Brandon Chaffe with help from Eric Evans completed the Lions scoring in the last minute of the game.
Picking up assists were Patrick Bzdyl on Rutley’s first counter and Rutley and Michael Poapst on Grant Cooper’s tying marker.
Rutley was assisted by Brayden Girard with his second counter and Grant Cooper and Sylvester Bzdyl set up Hodgson for his power play goal. Michel Lefebvre provided the assist on the Veenstra goal.
Coach Frawley credited the Lions for their efforts in the second period. “They (the Hawks) came out hard in the second period, tied it and went ahead, but we kept our composure.”
Frawley said he was happy with the penalty kills. “It’s early and I’m still evaluating but at this point we have two strong players for penalty kills on each line.”
Although he is still looking at various line combination, he says he saw good chemistry between veteran Chris Rutley and 16 year old Grant Cooper, younger brother of goaltender Ryan Cooper. “I am trying to find the right mix on the left side.”
The Cooper brothers are actually just one of four brother combinations currently on the Lions bench. The others include Drew and Clark Veenstra, Sam and Ty Hodgson and Patrick and Sylvester Bzdyl.
“The boys all played together and worked well together on the weekend. I’m very please. The guys see the direction we are going with this. It’s a learning process, and we are slowly working towards it. I am happy with their response to this point.”
Coming up this weekend the Lions have just one game and that is Friday night at 8:30 p.m. when the Char-Lan Rebels are in town.