MORRISBURG – Already hampered by three of their top-five scoring forwards out with injuries, the Lions were at a disadvantage as they opened their first round playoff series against the Clarence Castors. The team suited only 17 of their 23 man roster, and had one affiliate player to go against last year’s league champions in Clarence Creek February 25.
The Castors wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, sending four goals past Lions’ goalie Andrew Brooks in the first period, and three more unanswered goals in the second period.
Morrisburg were six-for-seven on the penalty kill in the first two periods, including one stint of five-on-three hockey. Most of the Lions penalty issues happened in the second period while the two teams traded penalties in the third period.
The Lions were unsuccessful in any comeback attempt and fell to the Castors in game one of the best-of-five-game series 7-0.
Morrisburg bounced back from the shutout loss with a great performance in front of the hometown crowd February 26.
Rylan Iwachniuk (from Ben Pilon and Alex Bergeron) put the Lions ahead 1-0 seven minutes into the game, and followed up scoring a power play goal (assisted by Jakob Bennett and Ben Lapier) with three minutes remaining in the period. The Lions led the Castors 2-0.
Morrisburg began the second period on a power play and it took less than a minute for Iwachniuk to find the back of the Castors’ net, assisted by Curran Gilmour. Iwachniuk followed up with his fourth goal of the afternoon four minutes later, assisted by Alex Bergeron. At the halfway point of the second period, the Lions led the Castors 4-0.
The Castors hit back with a pair of goals 11 seconds apart, and a power play goal two minutes later to finish the second period one goal behind the Lions. Morrisburg continued to lead 4-3 as the teams entered the third period.
Hudson Fetterly set up Josh Broad’s goal to restore the two-goal lead with 9:11 left in the third period.
Penalties got the best of the Lions again as the Castors scored two power play goals – the second with 1:47 left in regulation – to force the game into overtime.
Two minutes into overtime, Lions’ captain Dean Lapier scored the overtime game winner, assisted by Ben Lapier and Carter Tait, to win the game 6-5 and tie the playoff series at one game apiece.
The series heads back to Clarence Creek March 4 for game three.
Game four of the playoff series is set for the Morrisburg Arena on March 5.
Puck drop is 3:30 p.m. Pack the barn and cheer those Lions on!