Clare Lions take lead in semi-final series

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Updated with goal scorers, photos

Valley Keith’s proved for two periods Friday night that its players can skate with the league-leading Clare Lions, but the penalty-filled third period was their undoing.

The Keith’s wound up on the losing end 6-2 at the Université Sainte Anne rink in Church Point.

It was the first game of the best-of-five semi-finals in the Nova Scotia Junior C league’s West Division, and game two goes tomorrow (Sunday) at 2 p.m. in the Digby Area Arena.

Ryan Gallant scored twice to lead the Lions’ win on home ice, and Marc MacIntosh, Alex Poirier, Daniel Arsenault and Marcel Landry added singles.

Caleb d'Entremont and Eric Banks scored for the Keiths, who were 42-24 during the late night game.

Despite the imbalance in shots, the Keith’s and Lions played evenly during the scoreless first period. Eric Banks had perhaps the best scoring chance for the Keith’s during the period, while team goalie Chris Hersey was solid.

It wasn’t until the 6:15 mark of the second period that Arsenault opened scoring for Clare, and ignited the crowd. With just 38 second remaining, Gallant scored his first of the night and it looked as though the Lions would take a 2-0 lead into the dressing room—but there were two more goals to come.

Eight seconds later, d'Entremont slipped one past Clare goalie Colin LeBlanc, and the Keith’s bench and the sizeable contingent of team fans erupted, but were quieted moments later when Poirier notched a Lions goal with just seven second left in the period.

If the second period was noteworthy for its burst of goals in the dying second, the final frame was beset by penalties, with eight to the Lions and five to the Keith’s. The penalties saw Joel German of the Lions and Tristan Reede of the Keith’s ejected for fighting.

MacIntosh scored at the 15:27 mark, and Gallant added his second of the night just over a minute later.

The Keith’s pressed during the third period, especially when they had a powerplay, but had trouble setting up a sustain offence, and goalie Hersey made several saves that could have seen the game completely out of reach.

Clare’s sixth and final goal came from Landry with just 33 seconds left on the clock.

In the West Division’s other semi-final series, Barrington Ice Dogs downed Yarmouth Mariners 5-1, with Dustin Goreham scoring a hat. Josh Merrick took the win in goal for Barrington. Shots on goal were 30-24 for the Ice Dogs.

Organizations: Eric Banks, Church Point, West Division Ice Dogs

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