PORTLAND, ME – October 22, 2022 – A franchise record 5,386 fans witnessed the Maine Mariners 3-2 Home Opener loss to the Trois-Rivieres Lions on Saturday night at the Cross Insurance Arena. Mathew Santos and Cam Askew scored in the losing effort as Maine and Trois-Rivieres split the first two games of the weekend.
The Lions notched a pair of special teams goals to jump to a 2-0 lead in the first. At 9:02 during 4-on-4, William Leblanc scored his second goal of the weekend, finding a way to beat the glove of Francois Brassard despite being tripped up on the play. The Lions then used the power play to double their lead five minutes later when Colin Bilek ripped one off the cross bar and in for the first goal of his career. Montreal Canadiens prospect Joe Vrbetic made 12 first period saves in his professional debut.
Vrbetic remained stingy until late in the middle frame. Mathew Santos, who had numerous scoring chances in the first 40 minutes of the game, finally solved Vrbetic, after Nick Master spotted him right on top of the crease. Master picked up his third assist and fourth point of the weekend, while Mitch Fossier also collected a helper.
Bilek added his second goal of the game for insurance at 5:30 of the third period when he tipped a loose puck under a scrambling Brassard. The Mariners power play answered at 9:47 with Cam Askew scoring his first goal of the season. Moments later, Askew fought Lions captain Cedric Montminy to cap off a wild sequence of penalties. Ultimately, the Mariners got a late power play when Fossier drew a hooking call, but they could not find the equalizer.
Vrbetic made 32 saves for the win in his debut while Brassard turned aside 22. The Mariners previous record crowd was 5,291 in the franchise’s first home game on October 13th, 2018.
The Mariners and Lions wrap up Opening Weekend on Sunday afternoon at 3 PM in Portland. The game features Scooby Doo specialty jerseys and a postgame open skate. The jerseys will be auctioned off through the Handbid app. Individual game tickets for all 36 home games are on sale now, online, at the Ware-Butler Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena, or by calling 207-775-3458. Full season, half season, 12-game plans, and 10-ticket flex packs are also available. More information on ticket packages is available by calling 833-GO-MAINE, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting MarinersOfMaine.com.