LEWISTON — Matt Boyle had enough.
One of two 20-year-olds on the Lewiston Maineiacs’ roster, the veteran defenseman was tired of seeing Drummondville take shots at his teammates. So he did something about it.
Early in the second period, Boyle dropped the gloves with the leading goal-scorer in the league, Gabriel Dumont. Seven minutes later, he dropped them again, this time with Philippe Bergeron. The Volts weren’t the same the rest of the game.
“It’s a little spark sometimes,” Boyle said. “They seemed to settle down a bit after that, that’s for sure.”
Over the final two periods in Game 2 on Saturday, Lewiston had the upper hand. After falling behind 4-0 in a lackadaisical first frame, Lewiston played its nemesis evenly over the final two. The Maineiacs and Voltigeurs were even in shots at 15 each, even on the scoreboard at one each, and Lewiston had the better of the scoring chances.
What Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle saw that night was a glimmer of hope.
“I don’t feel like this team is that far behind,” Houle said. “I see some hope there. We need to try to penetrate more, get more traffic and continue to be physical, play hard-nosed hockey. But we can do that, we showed we can do that.”
And it’s not just on the veterans, Houle said.
“Not everyone is going to fight or anything, but everyone on the team can finish their checks, everyone can dig a little harder,” Houle said.
The Maineiacs are going to need that edge if they hope to climb back into their first-round series against the No. 2 overall seed in the QMJHL playoffs this season.
“We had a good first period the first game, then kind of tailed off, and then we had a good second and third period the second game,” Boyle said. “If we put that all together, we’ll be fine. We have to come out flying and not let up at all. This team is so good, if you let up one bit, they’re going to capitalize on mistakes.”
The odds certainly seem stacked against Lewiston. In 10 games this season, including two games in the playoffs, Drummondville has won nine and lost the 10th in a shootout. In the teams’ previous four games, the Voltigeurs have scored 26 goals to the Maineiacs’ nine, and six of those nine for Lewiston came in a wild, 7-6 contest in the regular season’s final week.
But the Volts’ biggest weapon all season, their power play, has been quiet in the postseason.
“Our penalty-kill has been solid so far,” Houle said. “We need to take fewer penalties, we can’t keep giving them those chances, but our guys have played well in killing those off.”
On the flipside, though, Lewiston’s power play, while more efficient in moving the puck, hasn’t produced enough.
“We worked on that this week, getting more scoring chances on the power play,” Houle said.
Scoring goals at all is a tall order against this Drummondville squad, which has one of the top 19-year-old goaltenders in the world, Jake Allen, between the pipes.
“Anything high, he either catches, or uses his blocker to put it to the corner or into the stands,” Houle said. “If it’s at his body, he swallows it. We need to try to put the shots on net and low, and force the rebounds.”
A win either Tuesday or Wednesday would force a Game 5 on Friday back in Drummondville, and a pair of wins over the next three games would add a sixth game to the series, which would take place Sunday in Lewiston.
Game time for Tuesday and Wednesday’s games at the Colisee is 7 p.m.