It’s been several weeks in the making, but the Morrisburg Junior B Lions finally put their fourth stroke in the win column Friday night on home ice against the Brockville Tikis.
The Lions opened their three game week on the road to Casselman, Thursday night, November 1 where they were dealt a crushing 10-2 loss by the St. Lawrence Division second place Vikings.
But Friday night, they got back on the right track to post a 6-3 win against the Tikis.
Then on Sunday, they were handed another loss by the Vikings, but this time they were in the game all the way and gave the Vikings a run for their money in the 5-3 loss (the fifth Viking goal scored in the empty Lions net).
“With the elimination of lapses and some mistakes, Sunday’s game was played very well,” says Lions team manager Kevin Casselman. “With a couple of breaks the outcome could have been much different. It was a well played hockey game. While it was not a win, we felt that we played well enough to have won.”
Sunday’s game started with a 1-1 first period tie. After two periods it was tied 2-2.
Then in the third, the Vikings went up 4-2, but the Lions battled back with a power-play goal at 13:40 from Peter Ketcheson to cut the gap to 4-3.
Despite their hard work, the Lions were unable to put anything more past Vikings goaltender Phillippe Quesnel. The Vikings scored in the empty Lions net after coach Dan Frawley pulled Lions goaltender Mikael Dion in favour of the extra attacker.
Adam Wensink opened the Vikings scoring at 5:22 of the first period on the Vikings power play.
At 8:13 Michel Lefebvre answered back on the Lions power play with help from Chris Rutley and Sylvester Bzdyl.
Joel Adam gave the Vikings a 2-1 lead at 5:39 of the second period and although it took the Lions a while to answer, Brandon Chaffe did that at 19:19 of the frame with the assists going to Grant Cooper and Curtis Pilon.
A pair of third period goals from Kyle Beauchamp-Lalonde at 9:43 and 11:57 gave the Vikings a two-goal edge.
Ketcheson counted the final Lions goal with help from Bzdyl and Rutley.
Friday night, the Lions came out of the starting gate fast and went up 1-0 against the Tikis with a Peter Ketcheson goal (from Zach Seguin and Ty Hodgson) at 5:24 of the frame.
The Tikis evened it three minutes later, and that held until the final minute of the period when the Lefebvre connected from Rutley and Bzdyl.
We had a team meeting before the game,” said Casselman. “We discussed the fact that we needed to be prepared to start the game and not fall behind. In fact, we came out from the start and played a solid game.”
“Secondly, it was important for us to receive secondary scoring. Affiliate player Peter Ketcheson scored the first goal and Brandon Chaffe had two goals in the game. This took some of the pressure off the line of Bzdyl, Lefebvre and Rutley.”
“As well Brandon (Chaffe) has played well and it was nice to see him rewarded for his hard work. It was nice to see some secondary scoring from other units. That takes away from the opposition’s game plan in shutting down one line.”
The Tikis evened the game five minutes into the second period, but then the Lions took over.
Chaffe got his two goals, the first assisted by Rutley and Bzdyl and the second with help from Grant Cooper and Ty Hodgson.
Then with just a little over a minute left in the period, Michel Lefebvre (from Rutley and Bzdyl) counted on the Lions power play to stretch the advantage to 5-2.
The Tikis got one more against Lions goaltender Ryan Cooper at 5:24 of the third period, and Clarke Veenstra finished it off with an unassisted goal for the Lions at 13:08.
“Clarke is a big time player on our team,” said Casselman. “He has been ill and the virus took its toll, but it was nice to get him back into the lineup. He makes a huge difference.”
Thursday night in Casselman, the Lions managed only two goals against the Vikings from Chris Rutley and Grant Cooper in the second period. The Vikings led 4-0 after the first period and 5-2 after two. Another five unanswered third period counters against Ryan Cooper in the Lions net gave them the 10-2 win.
“It’s a tough rink to play in for sure,” said Casselman. “But we felt the game was not indicative of the score. We didn’t play a good first period and before we knew it, we were down four goals. Some were just plain bad luck, but some were the case of our play.”
“But in the second period we came out and dominated the play for large stretches. As a result we scored a couple of goals.”
Cooper had a busy night in the net giving up the 10 goals on 55 Vikings shots. The Lions, on the other hand, managed only 23 shots against Vikings goaltender Alexandre Michaud.
Coming up this weekend, the Lions are in Alexandria on Friday night, November 9 and on Sunday, November 11 they again host the Casselman Vikings. Game time is 2:30 p.m.