Maine Hockey Journal

Maineiacs play to a pack house, winning in the shootout

Lewiston, ME—The Lewiston Maineiacs overcame undisciplined play in the first period to emerge with a 3-2 shootout win over the Moncton Wildcats on Friday night in front of 2,811 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“That’s a nice win, and you know what, it was a good hockey game.” Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle said. “It was back and forth. Two good teams who like to spread out and make long passes. There was some physical play, too. It was a great atmosphere.”

Michael Chaput opened the scoring for the Maineiacs just 3:31 into the game. Matthew Bissonette fed the puck over to Chaput who maneuvered into the high slot and fired a low shot past the left pad of Moncton goalie Shane Owen. Samuel Carrier picked up the secondary assist on the power play goal.

The Maineiacs made life a bit more difficult for themselves by taking three consecutive penalties late in the first period, all of the undisciplined persuasion. It all started with Olivier Dame-Malka being assessed a major elbowing penalty and a game misconduct at 18:24, coupled with a holding penalty by Dillon Fournier at the same time. Etienne Brodeur piled on a slashing penalty just one minute later, while his team was already facing a 5-on-3 disadvantage.

Allain Saulnier would make Lewiston pay, notching a power play goal with less than a minute remaining in the opening frame.

The Maineiacs entered the second period with a mountain to climb, and were able to turn adversity into the key turning point of the night. The fourth best penalty kill unit in the QMJHL limited the Wildcats to just one shot in over 1:56 of 5-on-3 power play time and 1:28 of 5-on-4.

“So far this year, we’ve been in every situation, up and down,” Houle said. “It doesn’t seem like anything fazes us. I think we believe in the locker room that we always have a chance to win.”

Neither team scored in the middle frame, but there was no shortage of excitement. Both teams exchanged scoring chances off of the rush, and both goalies were as sharp as a turkey carver.

Moncton and Lewiston would trade goals in the final period to send this one to overtime. Francis Beauvillier struck first, giving the Maineiacs a 2-1 lead with about 16 minutes to play in regulation. Kirill Kabanov and Jess Tanguy were credited with assists on the go ahead goal. The assist for Kabanov gives him seven points in eight games as a Lewiston Maineiac.

Less than two minutes later, Allain Saulnier would find the score sheet for a second time, tying the game with his 13th goal of the season. Alex Saulnier (Allain’s twin brother) and Scott Trask picked up helpers on the equalizer.

As regulation expired, the scoreboard read 2-2 and the shot totals ended at 42-36 in favor of Lewiston. Neither team was able to bury the puck in overtime, so the Maineiacs and Wildcats would settle things in a shootout.

Kirill Kabanov scored on the first shot of the shootout with a nifty backhanded deke move that completely fooled Shane Owen. Daniel Pettersson was able to sneak a puck past Nicholas Champion, but the Lewiston keeper shut the door for the rest of the way, allowing Samuel Carrier to score the game winning shootout goal in the fifth round.

With the win, the Maineiacs remain tied with the Saint John Sea Dogs for second place in the QMJHL, and hold sole possession of second place in the TELUS East Division.

“It’s a huge two points for us,” Houle said. “We hadn’t won in a shootout all season, so it’s nice to pull that one out.”

Lewiston finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage. Moncton went 1-for-3.

Nicholas Champion chalked up his league-leading 18th win of the season, earning his keep with 34 saves on 36 shots. Moncton’s Shane Owen was no slouch himself, posting a 40 save performance in defeat.

Next Up: Tues. November 30th at 6:00 p.m. Lewiston travels to Cape Breton for a showdown with the Screaming Eagles.

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