Eagles strike first, prevail

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The Lewiston Maineiacs just can’t seem to catch a break this week.

Strikes 1 and 2: Star goalie Jonathan Bernier and captain Marc-Andre Cliche were injured Thursday in Halifax, and the team eventually lost in a shootout to the Mooseheads.

Strike 3: Stefan Chaput can’t bury a penalty shot opportunity in a 1-0 game on Friday.

And, as an added bonus, Strike 4: Cape Breton netminder Ondrej Pavelec knocked the net off its mooring as Chris Tutalo scored what appeared to be an equalizer at 14:13 of the third period.

Chris Culligan and Dean Ouellet scored goals to spoil a gutsy, 39-save effort by rookie backup Peter Delmas and lift the Screaming Eagles to a 2-1 win over the Maineiacs in front of 3,524 at Centre 200 on Friday night.

“We have to sit a few players down and refocus the team,” head coach Clem Jodoin said. “In the third, we didn’t come out from our own end. It’s hard to explain. We’re getting close, but it’s not enough.”

The biggest story of the game was Delmas, who strained his hip making a save in overtime against Halifax on Thursday. He was a game-time decision to play, but proved early in the game he had recovered enough to be effective.

“The most important thing, he bounced back,” Jodoin said. “He was a goalie tonight. He gave the team a chance to win the game. I told him last night, I didn’t see the passion in his eyes. Tonight, he made the key saves.”

Culligan’s goal at 9:29 of the second period appeared it might stand as the lone goal of the contest well into the third.

But Ouellet gathered in a rebound to Delmas’ right and put the host Eagles ahead 2-0 with just four minutes to play.

Lewiston battled back with a goal from Pierre-Luc Faubert at 17:47, and pressed deep into Cape Breton territory late with Delmas on the bench, but the Maineiacs couldn’t solve Pavelec.

“He played a good game, but we didn’t test him enough,” Jodoin said. “We tested him a few times, but not like we could have.”

Chaput had his chance at 6:34 of the third period, but he tried to deke to his backhand, and Pavelec read him all the way, flashing his pad out to make the save.

The teams meet again tonight at Centre 200, and Lewiston next plays at home Wednesday against the Saint John Sea Dogs.

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