Maine Hockey Journal

Brodeur’s OT goal gives Maineiacs eighth straight victory

Lewiston, ME — Jess Tanguy slipped a perfect blue line to blue line pass to put Etienne Brodeur on a breakaway with 1:40 remaining in overtime to lift the Lewiston Maineiacs (16-7-0-2, 34 pts) over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, 3-2 (1-19-2-3) in front of 1,706 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Sunday afternoon.

It was not always pretty, and it certainly wasn’t easy for the Maineiacs as they won their eighth straight game and were a perfect five-for-five during their five game homestand.

“There were a lot of mistakes,” admitted Lewiston Head Coach Jean-Francois Houle following the game. “Our message to the guys was just find a way to win. That’s what good teams do. It’s not always pretty but they find ways to win.”

With just over two minutes remaining and Lewiston down 2-1, Houle elected to pull the goaltender. The aggressive move paid off, as Zachary Evans-Renaud teed off on a cross ice feed from Michael Chaput with just 49 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 2-2.

“We panicked a little bit,” said Houle. “I could sense they were starting to pressure us instead of sitting back. I could sense us panicking a little bit, but we kept in pretty good control. We had some good chances at the end. We were knocking on the door you could almost feel like it was coming. We got one.”

The Lewiston offense looked a far cry away from what it was just a night previous when they torched Baie-Comeau for five goals in the first period. Despite being staked to 6:35 worth of man advantages in the first period, the Maineiacs were held scoreless and could only muster six shots on goal.

Antoine Bibeau was awarded his first career start in net for the Maineiacs and, with the aid of some strong defensive efforts, was able to keep the Drakkar attack at bay for the first 19:59 of the game before a controversial Baie-Comeau goal made it 1-0.

“We gave him “player of the game” tonight, because if it wouldn’t be for him we would probably lose this game,” said Houle of Bibeau solid play, “They had four breakaways in the second period and he saved all four. That gives us a little bit of hope.”

Jean-Philippe Caron ripped off a shot with a few precious ticks remaining on the clock and lit the lamp just as the horn sounded. The play was ruled a goal on the ice and after further review the call was upheld. Caron was awarded the shorthanded goal, his fourth of the year, with just two-tenths of a second remaining in the period.

“A goal was counted…you just have to erase it and plow forward,” said Houle.

The Lewiston struggles with the man-advantage continued into the second period. A Danick Malouin hooking penalty gave the Maineiacs a brief nine second two-man advantage. During the power play, Raphael Bussieres was sprung twice on breakaways for Baie-Comeau less than twenty seconds apart. Luckily for Lewiston, the young Bibeau was up to the task on each occasion to help keep the deficit at one.

Samuel Carrier gave the Lewiston penalty kill a quality scoring chance with just over a minute to go. On a two-on-one break, Carrier elected to call his own number and sent a wrist shot just past the blocker of Alexandre Alain-Rajotte; however the shot rang the post and the period remained scoreless.

Lewiston was finally able to solve Alain-Rajotte and its own power play woes at the 3:45 mark of the third period. Just nine seconds after Gabriel Verpaelst was sent to the box for tripping Michael Chaput, he snipe his sixth goal of the season over Alain-Rajotte to tie the game at one. Matthew Bissonnette and Olivier Dame Malka contributed assists on the play.

Bussieres brought Baie-Comeau right back down the ice following Chaput’s goal. After being stoned by Bibeau twice before in the second period on breakaways, Bussieres was able to sneak one past the 16-year old net minder, however the puck rang post and the score held at 1-1.

But Baie-Comeau would find the back of the net later in the period at 16:13 when Dame-Malka inadvertently tipped the puck into his own net following a pad save from Bibeau. Alexandre Durette was awarded his fourth goal of the season.

What could have been a disappointing and bitter end to the Lewiston winning streak was erased with Evans-Renaud’s first goal of the season.

In the overtime period, Brodeur took off on a two-on-none breakaway with Tanguy but Tanguy’s pass was on edge and wouldn’t settle and Brodeur couldn’t finish. But the two would atone for their prior mishaps to combine to score the game-winner, Brodeur’s league-leading 21st goal of the year.

Bibeau would pick up his first win in his first start in the QMJHL as he made 26 saves on 28 shots. His counterpart Alain-Rajotte fell to 1-8, however he did turn in a solid effort making 28 saves on 31 chances.

“It was ugly, but we got it done,” Houle said.

The Three Stars of the Game:1. Etienne Brodeur – LEW
2. Michael Chaput – LEW
3. Antoine Bibeau – LEW

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