Morrisburg Lions open semifinal series Saturday night

Morrisburg Lions knock off North Dundas Rockets in double overtime – The Morrisburg Lions advanced to the National Capital Junior Hockey League playoff semi-finals in a nail-biting 5-4 double overtime win February 23. Morrisburg will face the Vankleek Hill Cougars in the semi-final, which begins this weekend. Friday’s series win is the first time the Lions have advanced past the first round of the playoffs since joining the league in 2015, and the first time since 2006 that the club has made it into any second round. Pictured above, Lions’s players Justice Brownlee, Kayne McCadden, Alex Bergeron, and Rylan Iwachniuk swarm Ben Lapier to celebrate his series-winning goal. (The Leader/Blancher photo)


MORRISBURG – The puck drops Saturday night (March 2) on the Morrisburg Lions’ second round, playoff semifinal series against the Vankleek Hill Cougars.

The Lions, who finished in first place in the National Capital Junior Hockey League’s west division and second overall in the league, have home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven-game series against the Cougars.

Morrisburg downed the North Dundas Rockets in the opening playoff round in five games. Vankleek Hill, who finished the regular season in second place in the NCJHL east division, dispatched the St. Isidore Eagles also in five games. The Cougars won both meetings between them and the Lions in the regular season, a 3-2 loss on October 21, 2023 and an 8-2 loss in November 5, 2023.

Lions’ associate coach Steve Iwachniuk said there are a lot of similarities between the two teams.

“We’re really looking forward to them,” he told The Leader. “As far as Vankleek Hill beating us in the regular season, we’re not the same team we were at the start of the year.”

Additions to the team before the trade deadline, goalie Carson Turner and forward Ayden Brascoupe – both from the Cumberland Castors – were final pieces to the team Iwachniuk said.

“We have such a range of guys playing. We developed what the expectation was early on – our goal is to win the championship. We keep progressing but there is a lot of work ahead of us,” he continued.

One of the new additions, Brascoupe, scored two goals in the February 23 series win over the Rockets. Brascoupe was part of last year’s championship winning Gatineau Hull-Volant team.

“He’s been there and done it,” Iwachniuk said. “He knows what it’s like to play deeper into the playoffs, and with two teams who are still in the playoffs right now.”

Looking ahead to the next round, Brascoupe said he felt good about the series.

“I feel really good about it,” he explained. “With the group of guys we have, I know we can beat them. When I started off with Cumberland this year, we were among the few that won against them, and Gatineau.”

Morrisburg has home-ice advantage in this semifinal round series, which opens this weekend. Game One against the Cougars is scheduled for March 2 at the Morrisburg Arena – puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. Game Two will be played March 3 in Vankleek Hill. The series will return to Morrisburg on March 9 for Game Three.

The Gatineau Hull-Volant will face the Cumberland Castors in the other NCJHL playoff semifinal series.

NCJHL Playoff Semifinal schedule

  • Game 1: March 2 – 7:30 p.m. at the Morrisburg Arena
  • Game 2: March 3 – 4:30 p.m. at the Vankleek Hill Arena
  • Game 3: March 9 – 7:30 p.m. at the Morrisburg Arena
  • Game 4: March 10 – 2:30 p.m. at the Vankleek Hill Arena
  • Game 5: March 15 – 7:30 p.m. at the Morrisburg Arena (if needed)
  • Game 6: March 16 – 4:30 p.m. at the Vankleek Hill Arena (if needed)
  • Game 7: March 17 – 7:30 p.m. at the Morrisburg Arena (if needed)

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