MORRISBURG – It was not the home opener the Morrisburg Lions wanted as the team entered its fourth regular season in the National Capital Junior Hockey League.
The Lions, who were bested in the season opener the previous weekend by the North Dundas Rockets, were on the losing end of a 10-1 game against the Vankleek Hill Cougars.
The Lions looked solid through the opening 20 minutes of the game, giving up one goal in the period. That goal, on a breakaway from Keean McEachern with 28 seconds remaining put the Cougars up 1-0. After McEachern’s goal, an altercation at the net resulted in an injury to Lions’ starting goalie Miguel Daoust. He left the game, which put backup goalie Justin Leclair in net.
Sloppy play in the second period with frequent turnovers in the neutral zone resulted in seven goals for the visiting team.
The Lions picked up the pace in the third period defensively, but by then the damage had been done. Cal Bilmer notched his first goal of the season less than two minutes into the period to make it an 8-1 game.
Vankleek Hill scored twice more in the period, resulting in the 10-1 loss.
Lions’ Justin Shay and Tyson Sherrer were bounced from the game for fighting, along with Cougars’ Trysten Lavoie.
In the team’s other match this past weekend, the Lions lost 8-1 to the South Grenville Rangers.
The Lions were first on the scoreboard in the match . Forward Tyson Sherrer (from Cal Bilmer and Cameron Fraser) scored 12 minutes into the game. Joe Maclean (from Brayden Forestell and Aidan Bailey) scored the equalizer for the Rangers with three minutes to spare. The teams were even at 1-1 after 20 minutes.
The Rangers opened the second period on a power play, with Mathieu Giroux (from Forestell and Brody Ranger) scoring in the final seconds. After that, the Rangers pummeled Lions’ goalie Riley Phillips with 28 shots in the period, scoring five goals (Matthew O’Brien, Hayden Sayeau, Forestell, Cole Edgely, and Dylan Sharpley). Rangers led the Lions 7-1 going into the third period.
Forestell scored the final goal of the game for the Rangers with eight minutes left in the game.
Phillips was peppered with 62 shots in the game, and picked up his first loss of the season for the Lions. Rangers goalie Xavier Dusbalon earned his first win of the season, facing 34 shots and allowing only one goal.
Lions’ general manager Kevin Casselman told The Leader that Daoust should be back in net by the team’s next game. The Lions have over a week off to rest and regroup.
The team next travels to Ottawa to take on the Bytown Royals October 11th. Morrisburg hosts the Gatineau-Hull Volant October 12th.
The Rangers host the Clarence Castors at the Ingredion Centre October 5th.