HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — There would be no bag of tricks for the Lewiston Maineiacs on this April Fool’s Day, and no way to solve Halifax netminder Jeremy Duchesne — again.
Duchesne made sure Bryce Swan’s goal 13:24 into the game held up with a 32-save effort, including several of the acrobatic, jaw-dropping variety in the third, as the Mooseheads upended the Maineiacs 2-0 in front of 4,963 at the Halifax Forum on Saturday.
The win gives Halifax a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series with Game 6 slated for Monday night at the Colisee in Lewiston.
“We did everything,” said Maineiacs coach Clem Jodoin. “We did everything. We had breakaways, we had chances, chances, chances, we just couldn’t put the puck in the net. (Duchesne) was great.”
One save in particular left everyone, including Duchesne’s own goaltending coach, scratching his head. That came at 12:52 of the third period on a shot by Stefano Giliati that hit the stalwart goaltender and deflected across the crease to a waiting Eric Castonguay. Castonguay labeled his shot for the top corner, only to watch as Duchesne lunged to his left and snagged the puck out of the air behind him.
“I thought that one was behind me,” said Duchesne. “It tipped across the crease and I don’t know who it was, but he was right there. I just shot my glove across and felt the puck hit it.”
The loss ends a frustrating week in Halifax for the Maineiacs, who lost two of the three games at the Forum and scored just two goals in the two losses.
Lewiston went 0-for-8 on the power play Saturday.
Rane Carnegie added an empty-net goal with 46 seconds left to seal the Halifax win. Lewiston must now win two consecutive games at home if it wants to advance into the second round of the playoffs.
“It’s up to us, now,” said Jodoin. “We have to bounce back. It’s up to us to say that anything is possible, and it’s a good thing we bounced back very, very well (in Game 5). We had our speed, we were generating.”
Swan’s goal helped the Mooseheads continue in their new-found power play prowess as he put a perfect feed from David Brine past Bernier.
“In the playoffs, one or two goals is huge,” said Swan. “(Duchesne) has been great for us all season, and he proved again tonight why he’s an NHL-drafted goaltender.”
The teams jostled back and forth throughout the remainder of the period, and both Bernier and Duchesne stood tall.
“Bernier’s going to be a first-round NHL pick,” said Swan. “He played a great game, too.”:
Lewiston’s power play, dormant for the first two games and, for the most part, in Game 4 as well, again struggled. The Maineiacs had four chances with an extra skater in the first period, including an early 5-on-3, and squandered all of them.