Maine Hockey Journal

Finn sparks Maineiacs comeback over Rimouski

Lewiston, ME – For years, players have dropped the gloves to try and give their team life, to prove a point, and to bring emotion to an otherwise lethargic effort.

It is an art form to time a bout perfectly. On Friday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, that it precisely what Samuel Finn did, as the Lewiston Maineiacs scored four unanswered goal following his second period fight of Alex MacDonald to defeat the Rimouski Oceanic 5-4.

“I can’t say enough about Sam Finn, the leadership he showed putting it upon himself to change the game around by going in there and stick his nose out there (for us.),” said Lewiston Head Coach Jean-Francois Houle.

Following Finn’s fisticuffs, Lewiston received goals from Etienne Brodeur, Stefan Fournier, Michael Chaput and Matthew Bissonnette.

Chaput brought the game square with a brilliant individual effort goal, and Bissonnette nearly brought the house down with the power play goal that gave the Maineiacs their first lead of the game.

Samuel Carrier also was a major contributor to the comeback efforts, as he recorded three assists, including one on both the game-tying and game-winning goals.

Tonight began a stretch in which the Maineiacs will play seven of eight games on home ice, and it appeared early that home ice would not be as kind as many had hoped.

At 8:32 of the first period, Rimouski took a 1-0 lead on a backhand goal in front of the net by Alexandre Mallet over the blocker of Nicholas Champion. Jonathan Lavoie and Gleason Fournier contributed with assists Mallet’s fifth goal of the season.

The early tally seemed to breathe extra life into the Oceanic, as they peppered Champion with multiple scoring chances in the few minutes that followed the goal. However, Champion answered the call and made a couple dandies to keep Lewiston within one.

After weathering the Oceanic barrage, Lewiston settled in and began to tilt the ice in their favor. The Maineiacs outshot the Ocean 10-0 over an eight-minute span, with one finding the back of the net to knot the game at 1-1.

It was Pierre-Olivier Morin who muscled a pass across to Jess Tanguy as he was sandwiched to the ice by a pair of Rimouski defenders and took a ride into the boards. Tanguy made Morin’s effort well worth it by depositing his 19th goal of the year with just under two minutes remaining in the first.

Rimouski regained the lead four minutes into the second period. Champion made the initial save in the upright position on Petr Straka’s shot, but the puck briefly caught his uniform before it trickled to the ice. Champion sprawled out on the ice and tried blindly to cover the puck, however it sat politely at the goal line for Felix Lefrancois to stuff home for his 23rd goal of the season.

Just over two minutes later, the Oceanic extended their lead with a goal from Fournier. However, Rimouski was not finished as they scored a shorthanded goal at 14:16. This time it was Lefrancois returning the favor with a beautiful cross-ice feed to Straka for his ninth goal of the year and a 4-1 Oceanic advantage.

With Lewiston treading water at 16:04 of the second period and frustration boiling, the 5’11” Samuel Finn decided to take matters into his own hands by dropping gloves with Alex MacDonald, who is listed at 6’4” 191 pounds. Despite MacDonald’s advantage in reach, Finn made easy work of it and put the Rimouski defensemen to the ice with a series of over-and-under haymakers and ignited a crowd of 2,254 in the process.

“I’m not a fighter,” said Finn after the game, “I don’t fight for no reason, but I thought that was a good time because we were losing by three goals and we needed the momentum so I was just looking for a fight out there.”

“He has done that four or five times for us this year, said Houle of Finn’s propensity to properly pick a fight, “He knows when to do it and when not to do it. It was an important part of the game.”

The bout seemed to light a fire under the Maineiacs, as Etienne Brodeur scored 38 seconds later despite the fact that Rimouski had the man-advantage as Finn was assessed a roughing minor to go along with his fighting major. The goal cut the deficit in half, 4-2, and gave Brodeur his league-leading eighth shorthanded goal and 40th goal of the season.

“Brodeur was strong on the puck, he came around, and wrapped it around. That was a key goal. It really gave us a bit of life to go out of the second period,” said Houle.

Lewiston would keep the momentum heading into the third period, as the Fournier brothers would hook up for a goal at 2:21 to bring the Maineiacs within one, 4-3.

Stefan Fournier smacked at a loose puck from behind the net and it ricochet off Rimouski goaltender Carl Hassan’s left pad and in.

Michael Chaput completed the comeback for Lewiston at 5:58 to give him his 20th goal of the season and equalize the score at 4-4.

For Rimouski, it was the second consecutive blown 4-1 lead, as they led the Montreal Remparts by the same score on Wednesday before allowing four straight unanswered goals. A result Henley and the Maineiacs were highly cognitive of.

“We were down by two so we knew if we just got one they would be shaken,” said Henley about the Maineiacs’ mindset heading into the third period. “We knew we could take advantage of that, and we did.”

With 10:30 remaining in regulation, Bissonnette put home his fifth goal of the year and the eventual game-winner.

Champion bunkered down to keep Rimouski off the board in third period and made 26 saves en route to his 23rd win of the season. At the other end of the rink, Hozjan fell apart in the third and suffered the loss, as he made 30 saves on 25 shots.

“This game was very important for us and we showed a lot of character by coming back and not giving up. We really needed this game to get a few wins in a row to get back up to the top of the league,” said Finn.

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