LEWISTON — Clem Jodoin talked extensively about his Rimouski Oceanic's inability to control turnovers, their propensity to hand the puck to the Lewiston Maineiacs at critical times, and about the sub-par goaltending he saw from his own keeper.
He spoke about it publicly, and at greater length to his team.
"We had an hour and a half video session (Saturday) morning, and we had another one before the game," Jodoin said. "After that, I was expecting better results."
His players responded well to the extra attention. After falling behind by a goal early — again — the Oceanic scored three goals over the next two periods and hung on in the face a furious Lewiston rally at the end of the game to post a 3-2 win in front of 1,811 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday night.
The Rimouski win leveled both teams' season record at 1-1.
"The goalie tonight made some very good saves," Jodoin said. "We could have been losing tonight, too. But he made some good saves, and at least (Saturday), we were competing hard, finishing our checks."
Jarred Struthers, Charles-Antoine Roy and P.A. Ouellet all scored for Rimouski. Each of the goals was the first of the season for each of the players.
The star of the game for the visiting Oceanic, though, was goalkeeper Philippe Tremblay. After allowing eight goals on Friday, the young netminder stopped all but two of the 34 pucks launched in his direction Saturday.
"He was much better, much, much better," Jodoin said.
"You could see, in the third period, the guys were saying, 'What do we have to to to beat him?'" Maineiacs' coach J.F. Houle said. "They were getting frustrated."
Trailing 3-1 late in the third, Lewiston revived the feeling of hope in the building when Etienne Brodeur scored his third goal in two games at 17:15 of the third. In the final minute, Lewiston gained an offensive-zone faceoff after an icing call, and pulled 17-year-old netminder Andrey Makarov for an extra skater. Twice, Lewiston nearly netted the tying goal, and twice Tremblay was up to the task.
At the other end, Makarov made a solid first impression.
"He's going to be a good goaltender, let me tell you," Jodoin said. "He made some big saves, too."
"He always finds a way to stop the puck," Houle said. "He has a big body, and he has a way of always being in front of the puck. He moves well and he's quick."
Makarov was a hard-luck loser on this night. The first Rimouski goal came from a tip in the mid-slot, and the third was an awkward deflection off a skate on an attempted pass.
Though it wasn't quite so quick, the Maineiacs again struck early Saturday.
Brayden Wood netted his first career QMJHL goal in just his second game at the 2:34 mark of the opening frame. Wood, a 16-year-old pick in June's QMJHL entry draft, crept in from the point and fired the puck into an open net on a rebound that ricocheted to the top of the slot as Etienne Brodeur and Sam Henley pounded away at the right side post.
Rimouski fought back a bit harder than in Game 1, and took its first lead of the season just shy of the midway point of the opening frame. Struthers tipped the equalizer past Makarov at 4:11, and Roy capped a goalmouth scrum with his first of the season on the power play at 9:54 to put Jodoin's squad up by a goal.
The Maineiacs tried to climb back into the game in the second, and outshot Rimouski 15-10 in the process, but Rimouski keeper Philippe Tremblay was much more solid than he was Friday. He made several solid stops in the second to stymie the Maineiacs' attack.
"We played better in the second and the third," Houle said. "We had a few more breakaway chances, but we couldn't finish."
On the other end, Makarov showed why he, too, is a highly-touted prospect. The Russian goalie made a pair of dazzling glove saves to keep Lewiston, at the time, within a goal.
It was a fluke deflection, though, that ultimately helped Rimouski pad its lead. Ouellet tried to feed the puck in front from the left corner to a pinching defenseman. The puck hit a skate in the low slot and fluttered into the top right corner of the cage past a surprised Makarov.
Lewiston next skates on the road, with games in Quebec and Chicoutimi on Friday and Saturday nights.