Morrisburg Lions look to the playoffs

Morrisburg Lions finish second in the league – Having locked up first place in the National Capital Junior Hockey League’s West Division the previous week, the Morrisburg Lions needed one point to secure second place overall in the final league standings – they earned two. The Lions, who set new club records since joining the league in 2015, finished the 2023-24 regular season with 21 wins, 12 losses, one tie, and 43 points. Pictured above, Lions’ forward Ashton Adams (#18, center) scores early in the second period of the Lions’ game against the South Grenville Rangers February 4

WESTPORT – Having already clinched the top spot in league’s West Division last week, the Morrisburg Lions needed one point to secure second overall. They earned two points with a 4-2 win over the Westport Rideaus January 30.

Morrisburg took a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals by Ashton Adams and Eamonn McSwiggan. Westport scored once in the second period and tied the game at 2-2 early in the third.

With overtime looming, Justice Brownlee (from Adams, Ben Lapier) scored the game-winning-goal with 1:35 remaining on the clock. Lapier added an empty-net goal with 26 seconds left ensuring the 4-2 win for Morrisburg.

Second place overall secured, the Lions travelled to Prescott February 4 to play their final game of the regular season.

After a scoreless first period, Adams put the Lions on the scoreboard early in the second. Back-to-back goals in two minutes by the Rangers had the Lions trailing 2-1. South Grenville went up 3-1 at the midway point of the game, but Morrisburg rallied.

A power-play goal by Alex Bergeron cut the Rangers lead to one goal. Five minutes into the third period, Adams scored his second goal of the night, tying the game at 3-3.

The Rangers scored a power-play goal with 11 minutes left on the clock, followed by an insurance goal with three minutes remaining to seal the Lions’ 5-3 loss.

“There were some moments there we were working the puck down more to their end,” said associate coach Steve Iwachnuik after the games. “We’re making a few adjustments to the team, adjusting to get ready for the playoffs.”

Overall the coach said the team played well, even with resting a few of their players in preparation for the playoffs.

“We sat some guys against Westport. To come back and win the game. The team played well. It’s nice to show the depth we have on the team.”

Looking ahead, the coach said playing the North Dundas Rockets is going to be a great series.

“They are a very good hockey team,” Iwachniuk said. “They’re going to crash the net. That’s how they’ve scored their goals. North Dundas is probably the most difficult place to play.”

Second year Lions’ defenceman Jacob Bennett told The Leader that going into the playoffs as the second seeded team shows the work everyone on the team did to improve this season.

“It’s huge. Proud of everyone on the team,” he said. “We’ve done a great job playing so far: now we’ve just got to keep going.”

Bennett said the upcoming series against the Rockets cannot be taken lightly.

“It will be a tough series. They’re a hard-working team.”

Morrisburg opens their first round playoff series against the North Dundas Rockets at the Morrisburg Arena February 13. Puck drop is 8:15 p.m. The series moves to Chesterville February 16.

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