Junior hockey: Maineiacs zap Volts

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The road has been kind to the Lewiston Maineiacs, but they’re awfully glad to be headed home.

Michael Chaput, Francis Beauvillier and Jess Tanguy sparked a furious third-period rally with goals 4:06 apart in the frame’s first five minutes to lead Lewiston a 5-4 win over Drummondville in front of 2,470 at the Macel Dionne Centre.

“Doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish,” Lewiston coach J.F Houle said. “Our team, it doesn’t faze us to get scored on a goal or two, we just keep working and we’ve always battled back.”

Nick Champion made 30 saves on 34 shots to earn the win in net for the Maineiacs, his 10th of the season as Lewiston improves to 11-7-0-2, tied for sixth overall in the QMJHL.

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“He made a lot of big saves for us tonight, and the defense played well in front of him, too,” Houle said. “He’s been making the key saves for us, and it makes a big difference.”

For the fourth consecutive road game, the Maineiacs fell behind early. For the third time in a row, they came back to win. This time, the deficit was 2-0 in the first period after Drummondville tallies by Ondrej Palat and Marc-Olivier Vachon.

Etienne Brodeur put the visitors on the board late in the first on a feed from Pierre-Olivier Morin. The goal is Brodeur’s league-leading 15th of the season.

In the second, Lewiston evened the score on Alex Zafiris’ first career goal, only to have the Volts jump back in front when Palat again connected and beat Champion.

But in the third, it was all Maineiacs.

“We played well in the second too, and I really felt we played a better game,” Houle said. “We were intense, we carried the play. In the third, the players continued to work hard.”

Chaput beat Drummondville keeper Dominic Graham just 49 seconds into the final frame to tie the game. Francis Beauvillier knocked another by the stunned keeper 34 seconds later, and Jess Tanguy came up with a steal and a nifty backhand move at 4:55 of the third to push Lewiston’s newfound lead to 5-3.

The Voltigeurs got one back on the power play when Jean-Philippe Mathieu converted a feed from Sean Couturier at 7:30, but the Maineiacs’ defense held on from there.

“We’ve worked a lot on it, and we’re playing well with the lead right now,” Houle said. “The guys really have started to learn the way to protect a lead well.”

Lewiston’s next five games are at home, beginning Wednesday against the league-leading Quebec Remparts at 7 p.m.

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