PORTLAND, ME – December 31, 2021 – Coming into their New Year’s Eve battle with the Mariners, the Trois-Rivieres Lions had been 7-0-0 this season when leading after two periods. Thanks to third period goals by Alex Kile, Mathew Santos, and Keltie Jeri-Leon, the Mariners came from behind to defeat the Lions, 5-3 and end 2021 on a high note.
The opening period didn’t see a lot of action, with the Lions scoring the only goal at the 2:35 mark. After Jeremy Brodeur kicked out a shot from Simon-Claude Blackburn, Lions forward Alexis D’aoust drove in for a rebound and buried it for the 1-0 Lions lead. Trois-Rivieres outshot Maine 10-4 in the opening frame.
Most of the scoring in the middle frame came in a 35-second span toward the midway point of the period. Lions defenseman Gabriel Verpaelst doubled the Trois-Rivieres lead at 10:06, but just 18 seconds later Nate Kallen got the Mariners on the board as he cleaned up a loose puck in the Lions crease on assists from Pascal Laberge and Mathew Santos. The 2-1 score only lasted 17 seconds however, as Anthony Nellis beat Brodeur’s stick side moments later to put the Lions lead back at two.
Late in the second period, the Mariners struck on the power play as Metis Roelens netted his first professional goal, sitting in the slot and deflecting a pass from Keltie Jeri-Leon from the left-wing circle. The Mariners trailed 3-2 entering the third.
About halfway through the third period, Alex Kile, who had scored four goals in his season debut on Wednesday, found the equalizer. Making a behind-the-back move on the right wall, Kile cut to the net and jammed one through Lions goaltender Tristan Berube to make it 3-3 at 10:07 of the third. With the Mariners feeling the momentum, they took their first lead of the game at 16:49. Defenseman Zach Malatesta, acquired in a trade yesterday, intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, and fed Mathew Santos, who streaked down the slot and beat Berube’s glove to make it 4-3. With Berube in the bench in the final minute, Jeremy Brodeur made an incredible sprawling save on Olivier Hinse to preserve the lead. Moments later, Roelens caused a turnover in the center zone and set up Jeri-Leon for an empty netter to seal the game.
Brodeur made 29 saves to earn his 7th win of the season, while Berube stopped 25 in his professional debut. The Mariners have won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-November and have now won three of their last four overall.