MORRISBURG/ALMONTE – After an undefeated opening weekend to the 2023-24 season, the Morrisburg Jr. C Lions looked to extend their winning streak on the road September 29 as they took on the Almonte Inferno.
Ashton Adams’ power-play goal two minutes into the game gave the Lions a quick 1-0 lead. Ben Lapier notched his eighth goal of the season later in the period. Alex Bergeron added Morrisburg’s third goal of the period with five minutes remaining. Lions led the Inferno 3-0 after 20 minutes.
Justice Brownlee added a needed fourth goal for Morrisburg less than four minutes into the second period. Almonte tallied two goals on the power play with a third at even strength to bring the Inferno within a goal of tying the Lions. It only took 18 seconds for Sam Ryan to restore Morrisburg’s two goal lead. Forty seconds after Ryan’s goal, Rylan Iwachniuk added one of his own (from Ryan). The Lions held a 6-3 lead over the Inferno into the third period. Iwachniuk and Ryan combined for one more Lions goal with 12 minutes remaining. The Lions won 7-3 and immediately set their sights on Saturday night’s home game against last season’s champions, the Gatineau Hull-Volant.
The Hull-Volant were on the heels of a rough 5-3 loss to the Westport Rideaus Friday night. Lois Flansberry’s goal two minutes into the game handed the defending champions a 1-0 lead.
That lead lasted through the remaining 18 minutes of turbulent play, and up to the eight minute mark of the second period. On a Lions’ power-play, Lapier (from Hudson Fetterly and Iwachniuk) tied the game 1-1. Morrisburg gained the advantage thanks to a power -play goal two minutes later by Adams (from Brownlee and Iwachniuk). The Lions led the Hull-Volant 2-1 at the end of 40 minutes.
Flansberry tied the game for Gatineau three minutes into the third period, and Clément Gravelle scored their go-ahead goal – the Hull-Volant led the Lions 3-2. Seven minutes later, Gravelle scored again.
The Lions bench pulled goalie Andrew Brookes for the six-on-five advantage with three minutes remaining and looking to tie the game. Forty-five seconds later, heroics by Josh Price (from Brownlee and Adams) had the Lions claw back to a single goal. That momentum lasted until the final 50 seconds when Gabriel Chatrand’s empty-netter sealed the Lions fate in a 5-3 loss.
Lapier’s two goal, three point weekend keeps him as early leader in the National Capital Junior Hockey League’s scoring race with nine goals and 13 points. Brownlee (third), Iwachniuk (fourth), and Adams (sixth) round out the top-10 league scorers in this second week of the season.
The Lions remain in second place in the league, tied with the first place Hull-Volant in points at the top of the league standings. The 3-0 Vankleek Hill Cougars sit in third place. Morrisburg will host the Metcalfe Jets October 7 at the Morrisburg Arena. Metcalfe, along with Almonte, and the South Grenville Rangers, have yet to win a game this season. The Lions will travel back to the Ottawa Valley to face the Inferno for a third time this season on Thanksgiving Day (October 8.)