Perfect in November: St. Lawrence Lions rally to win second Collegiate Showcase Championship

Photo: Rene Lampron

The Saint Lawrence Lions hockey team traveled to Sorel to take part in the second collegiate showcase. As defending champions of the first event held in Alma, expectations were high and the objective of returning home with a second collegiate banner ranked highly in the minds of both players and staff. In the first game of the tournament, the Lions faced the Saint Laurent Patriotes and got off to a booming start. In the opening moments of the initial period, Jean Philippe Sansfacon scored a short-handed goal to give the Lions a 1-0 lead. The Patriotes replied 7 minutes later, with their only goal against net minder Cedrick Lafrance. Jean Philippe scored his second goal of the encounter that proved to be the game winner. Laurent Dumont, Guillaume Kelhetter and Simon Cyr Rochette completed the scoring for the Lions. This 5-1 victory prepared the team for their next opponent, Cegep Andre Laurendeau for a Saturday evening match up.

The second game was a one sided affair from start to finish, leaving little doubt about the swagger and speed of the Lions. Newly converted forward Guillaume Berube had a night he will remember, scoring 3 goals and assisting on another while showing a plus 7 record for the game. Simon Cyr Rochette continued his scoring streak with two goals, while Philippe Olivier Moreau, Vincent Clement Gratton, Maxime Belanger, Jean Philippe Sansfacon and Guillaume Kelhetter completed a 10-goal night for the Lions. Net minder Thierry Tremblay stopped 15 shots while recording his first shut out of the season. Members of the Lions coaching staff were pleased with this show of fire power but were concerned about the impact it might have on the tournament semi-final game against Lionel Groulx, a much more structured and physical opponent.

The following morning, the semi-final game against Lionel Groulx brought truth to the coaching staff’s apprehensions while providing needless hormonal activity in the adrenaline department. The Lions experienced difficulties in several areas and were outplayed in the initial frame. Lionel Groulx scored first, taking an early lead in the period. Fortunately, Jean Philippe Sansfacon and Vincent Boivin had an answer, finding the back of the net to give the team its ticket to the showcase final against the Sorel  Rebels on Grey Cup Sunday. Goal tender Cedrick Lafrance had an excellent outing, making crucial saves in the winning cause. Trainer Clement Gauthier agreed that it was not the teams’ best game, but it was enough to make it to the final round.

The hometown Rebels, had an excellent tournament, beating Lionel Groulx, Harrington College and the league leading representatives from Alma. Their  dominance in the semi-final game was impressive, shocking Alma with a 9-6 victory. With revenge from their previous showcase overtime shootout loss to Saint Lawrence fresh on their minds and a hostile home crowd, the stage was set for an uplifting showcase final once again. The Lions led 2-0 after the first period of play, showing discipline and avoiding penalties that would have given the home team an opportunity to unleash their devastating power play. During the final intermission, coach Labadie reminded his team that they were behind 2-0 in the final game at the Alma showcase and that we found the energy to battle back and win the title. Our opponents are probably telling themselves that they can pull the same thing on us today.

The message was clear as Philippe Olivier Moreau scored 40 seconds into the final frame making an eventual home team comeback unlikely. Vincent Boivin and Jean Philippe Sansfacon giving the Lions a 5-0 lead on the road to a 5-1 championship victory. Goal tender Thierry Tremblay made 22 saves in the winning cause. The Lions recorded their fifth win in six games against Cegep Sorel-Tracy, claiming their second showcase banner this season.

The Lions conclude the month of November with a perfect 10-0 record, two showcase championships and sense of accomplishment that is well deserved at this stage of the season. The team has also been very involved in final exam preparation, with players attending mandatory study halls in the college library. Lions will complete the first half of their season by hosting Lionel Groulx Saturday December 5th at 7 PM at Activital and Andre Laurendeau, Saturday December 12th. The team offers an exciting brand of hockey with a good mix of speed and skill that are worth the trip. Be part of the show and come out to support the program and experience college hockey on the rise.