Morrisburg Jr. Lions set record with Jets win

Morrisburg Jr. Lions’ forward Ben Lapier (right, #29) scored the team’s lone goal Saturday night in Cardinal against the South Grenville Rangers. The Lions found better success Friday night as they defeated the Metcalfe Jets 5-1 and set a season-record for wins since joining the NCJHL. (The Leader/Blancher photos)

METCALFE – The 2022-23 season is officially the Morrisburg Jr. Lions’ best season since joining the National Capital Junior Hockey League in 2015. Morrisburg’s 5-1 defeat of the Metcalfe Jets February 10 gave the team their 12th win of the season, breaking their 2017-18 season record of 11 wins.

The Lions were without forwards Keon Troccolli-Roik and Justice Brownlee due to injuries.

Morrisburg forward Connor Manderson scored in the final seconds of the first period, assisted by Alex Bergeron, and gave the Lions a 1-0 lead.

A power play goal by Lochlan Brown for the Jets late in the second period tied the game.

A rally later in the third period saw four goals scored by the Lions in five minutes.

Linden Sinfield’s go-ahead-goal from Rylan Iwachniuk and Owen Fetterly started the goal run. Two minutes later, Hudson Fetterly (from Josh Broad and Sinfield) scored, followed by Ben Lapier (Bergeron, Manderson). Dean Lapier (from Hudson Fetterly) closed out the Lions scoring with an empty net goal.

The Lions grounded the Jets 5-1, handing Metcalfe their 29th loss of the season. Morrisburg goalie Andrew Brooks collected his eighth win of the season that night.

Morrisburg improved to a record of 12 wins, 19 losses and two overtime losses, for 26 points.

This year’s Lions team exceeded its COVID-shortened 2021-22 season result of seven wins and 15 points.

Morrisburg broke its record for wins and points with their win Friday, exceeding the 2017-18 season record of 11 wins, 20 losses, and two ties.

Missed it by THAT much! – An attempt by Morrisburg Lions’ forward Connor Manderson (right, #28) to five-hole South Grenville Rangers goalie Andrew Cristea succeeded getting past the goalie, but not past the goal line. Rangers’ forward Aidan Bailey (left, #13) got his stick in to save the puck with inches to spare.

Jr. Lions tamed by Rangers 9-1

CARDINAL – The Morrisburg Lions went up against the league’s best team, the South Grenville Rangers, and could not get through its defenses losing 9-1 February 11.

It took only 35 seconds for the Rangers to find their way through the Lions’ defences to take an early lead in the game. Zach White and Nate Medaglia combined to set up Colin Stacey’s goal – his ninth since joining the team in January.

A power play goal from Jacob McGonegal (from White and Stacey) had the Rangers up 2-0 after 20 minutes. Morrisburg had plenty of chances against South Grenville in the opening frame, including two power plays.

The Lions, who have the National Capital Junior Hockey League’s second highest scoring offence this season, made solid challenges to the Rangers defence. Unfortunately for Morrisburg, they ran into a wall, South Grenville’s number one goaltender Andrew Cristea. Cristea stopped over 30 shots from the Lions in the game, and improved to a 2.75 goals-against-average across his 20 appearances so far this season.

The Lions, who were missing two of their top forwards due to injury, continued their best effort in the second period. Plays led by Captain Dean Lapier, Connor Manderson, and Rylan Iwachniuk gave Morrisburg many opportunities but the team could not get across the goal line. Manderson got the closest midway through the period when he sent the puck past Cristea only to have it saved by Rangers forward Aidan Bailey, inches away from the goal.

The Lions gave up their third goal of the game five minutes into the second period. White (from Stacey and Medaglia) scored the first of his hat trick for the game. A goalie interference call against Lions’ forward Linden Sinfield gave the Rangers a penalty shot on goalie Andrew Brooks, who made an easy save on Nic Campeau’s attempt. A minute later, still on the power play, White scored his second of the game. Morrisburg continued to trail South Grenville 4-0 as the teams headed into the third period.

Still trying to get back into the game, frustration began to show in the Lions. A pair of goals in the opening four minutes of the period extended the Rangers’ lead to six goals. Up first, Jakob Beauvais (from Jesse McCoy and Medaglia) followed by Conner VanLuit (from Bailey and Cole Jelly) added unneeded insurance for the game. McGonegal (Bailey, Justin Greene) sent another past Brooks with 4:39 remaining in the game. It was not all downhill for the Lions in the period.

Defenceman Curran Gilmour set up Ben Lapier for a power play goal with 3:14 left on the clock – not enough to start a comeback, but enough to spoil Rangers’ Cristea from earning his elusive first shutout of the season. A shorthanded goal by White (Jelly) with under two minutes left to play, and Nic McFarlane’s goal seconds later resulted in the 9-1 loss for Morrisburg.

The Lions exit the weekend with two points and head into their final two games of the regular season February 18 and 19. Saturday, Morrisburg will travel to Chesterville to take on the second place North Dundas Rockets. As the Lions are in seventh place in the league, this game may be a precursor to the first round of the playoffs.

Sunday will see the Lions return to Cardinal to close out the regular season with a rematch against their river rivals, the Rangers. No schedule has been released yet for the 2023 league playoffs. Morrisburg sits in seventh place in the standings with a record of 12 wins, 20 losses, and two overtime losses.

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