Morrisburg Jr. Lions drop points in playoff race

Lapier scores again – Morrisburg Jr. Lions’ forward Ben Lapier has made an impact on the team since joining from the Cornwall Colts before the National Capital Junior Hockey League trade deadline earlier this month. Lapier has picked up eight points (four goals, four assists) in five games with the team. Pictured above, Lapier opened the scoring late in the first period in the Lions’ January 14 home game against the Gatineau Hull-Volant. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – The weekend started off well for the Morrisburg Jr. Lions. The team hosted the Gatineau Hull-Volant January 14 and late into the second period, the Lions had built a sizable 4-0 lead – all power play goals. Two goals in the final minute of that period, plus six unanswered goals scored against them in the third period, resulted in the Lions’ ninth home loss of the season.

Morrisburg was off to a great start in the first period. Gatineau’s players were caught frequently for minor penalties and cooler heads prevailed for the most part on the home team. Ben Lapier (from Keon Troccolli-Roik and Connor Manderson) opened the Lions scoring with a power play goal late in the first period. Lions led 1-0 after 20 minutes.

The Lions began the second period on a power play, and spent much of the period with a man advantage. Persistence paid off late in the second period as a trio of power play goals were scored in the span of less than two minutes. Up first, Troccolli-Roik (from Rylan Iwachniuk and Manderson), found the back of the net; followed by Iwachniuk (from Curran Gilmour and Troccolli-Roik); and Justice Brownlee (unassisted).

A quick pair of goals by Gatineau in the last minute cut the upstart Lions’ lead in half. Morrisburg led Gatineau 4-2 going into the third period.

The Lions found themselves in the penalty box more often than the Hull-Volant in the third period. Power play goals by Gatineau bookended six unanswered goals scored by the visitors. Morrisburg lost 8-4.

The Lions looked to get back on track Sunday evening (January 15) in St. Isidore against the Eagles.

St. Isidore scored early in the second period to take a 1-0 lead. Manderson (from Gilmour) tied the game with a power play goal less than two minutes later. The Eagles regained the lead later in the period.

Morrisburg captain Dean Lapier, assisted by brother Ben, tied the game two minutes into the third period. Two goals in just over a minute on an Eagles power play put St. Isidore back in control of the game. Manderson (from Brownlee) cut the Eagles’ lead to one goal with six minutes remaining in the game. The Lions trailed the Eagles 4-3. An empty net goal by St. Isidore with 10 seconds remaining resulted in a 5-3 loss for Morrisburg.

The Lions see little relief in the busy National Capital Junior Hockey League schedule as they seek to improve from their seventh place position in the standings with 10 games to go.

On January 21, the team hosts the Almonte Inferno, who are hot on the Lions’ heels sitting two points behind Morrisburg in eighth place. With little rest after that game, the Lions travel to Chesterville January 22 to square off against their Dundas County rivals, the first place North Dundas Rockets.

Jr. Lions goalie Andrew Brooks made many big saves in the second period as the Hull-Volant sent shot after shot at him. Pictured above, Brooks kicked away this shot by NCJHL points leader Étienne Champagne early in the second period Saturday night. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

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