River Kings shock top team with come-from-behind effort to win

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Photo courtesy of icelevel.com

The River Kings stunned the first-place Jonquiere Marquis with a 5-3 come-from-behind victory on Saturday night at the Civic Complex in front of 792 fans.

Jonquiere jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes, on goals by Jeremie Malouin, Mathieu Brunelle and Hugo Carpentier. The Marquis outshot the River Kings 17-11 in the first period.

But Cornwall was a different team the rest of the way. 

At 6:40 of the middle frame, J.P. Caron pounced on a Danick Malouin shot that bounced off the end boards to beat former River Kings goalie Frederic Piche. Then, veteran Pierre-Luc Faubert cashed in a Michael Stinziani rebound at 13:38, to bring Cornwall to within a goal. Stinziani, with a beautiful deke on the powerplay, levelled the score for Cornwall at 8:01 of the third. Nicolas Larocque-Marcoux then gave the River Kings a 4-3 lead with 6:44 to play. After a great individual effort by David Croteau, Marcoux buried the rebound to the delight of the River Kings faithful. Francis Ouimet iced the game when he bounced a shot from the neutral zone past a helpless Piche with two minutes to play.

The game featured two scraps in the first period. Robbie Thompson took on Sean McMorrow, and Curtis Tidball challenged Gaby Roch.

Cornwall outshot Jonquiere 34-31. Larocque-Marcoux (first), Stinziani (second), and Faubert were the announced stars.

Roch Seguin and injured defenceman Jonathan Jasper were on the bench for the River Kings this weekend. 

On Friday night, the River Kings fell 4-3 to Riviere-du-Loup on the road. Cornwall trailed 4-1 after 40 minutes but fought back on third-period goals by Larocque-Marcoux and Caron. Chris Kushneriuk, with his first of the season, also scored for Cornwall. Etienne Archambault, Francis Meilleur and Simon Danis-Pepin each had a goal and an assist for the 3L.

River Kings hire new head coach

The search for a new head coach is over. A couple of days after Cornwall stole two points from first-place Jonquiere on home ice, the River Kings snagged Bob Desjardins from the Marquis. Desjardins, who finished the 2014-15 season as the bench boss in Cornwall, was serving as an assistant in Jonquiere.

“I’m very happy to be back in Cornwall; I never should have left,” said Desjardins. “Even though I was a part of a first-place team, I missed the boys here and the Cornwall fans.”
“I realized that on Saturday night,” he added. “I missed the city, the Moreau family, and the staff, so it really is great to be back.”

The River Kings have won three of their last five contests on home ice. Cornwall will look to build on the momentum with four of its next five games to be contested at the Civic Complex.

“We’re in a tough situation with injuries on the blue line right now, but we will be patient and work on the long-term process,” said Desjardins. “We have a good roster and we’ll be ready for the end of the season and maybe surprise some people in the playoffs.”

Desjardins replaced Oliver Filion late last year, and after a rocky start, the River Kings won their final two regular season games before taking regular-season champions Sorel to a seventh game. 

In addition, Desjardins, who will be behind the bench this weekend for Cornwall, has also been named the assistant general manager. 

“We’re thrilled to have Bob back in the fold,” said general manager Rick Lalonde. “He’ll be more involved this time around as well, and he’ll have a big say in transactions.”

After the huge victory over Jonquiere on Saturday, owner Steve Moreau hopes to see attendance rise in the coming weeks. 

“Our play has improved especially on home ice, and with the hiring of Bob, we will look to build on that momentum,” noted Moreau. “We’re doing the best on our end; now is the time for fans to do their part and bring a friend to the game.”

Cornwall travels to Trois-Rivieres to take on the Blizzard on Friday night at 8 p.m.

The following night, Saturday, Dec. 19, the River Kings host St-Georges at the Civic Complex. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

The annual Teddy Bear Toss will be held on Saturday night. Fans are asked to bring a new or gently used teddy bear to the game. Bears must be in a plastic bag and can be tossed onto the ice after Cornwall’s first goal. Free bang sticks will also be distributed to the first 250 fans, and Santa will make an appearance at the game.

files from Rodney Wilson