Junior hockey: Morin, Maineiacs pick off Gatineau

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For a change, the late goal was in the Lewiston Maineiacs’ favor and the even-later penalty call was against their opponent.

And despite again falling behind in the first period, the Maineiacs scratched and clawed their way back to earn an important road win at Gatineau.

Etienne Brodeur netted his 13th of the season on a breakaway and Pierre-Olivier Morin broke a deadlock in the third period with his fourth tally to lift Lewiston to a 2-1 victory over the Gatineau Olympiques in front of 2,207 at Centre Robert Guertin on Saturday.

“It’s a breath of fresh air to be on the other side of a game like this for a change,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said.

Nick Champion, playing in his second consecutive game, earned the win with 16 saves on 17 shots.

“It won’t look like there were a lot of shots, but the shots were all good scoring chances, it seemed like,” Houle said. “He played real well tonight.”

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Late in the third, with the Maineiacs clinging to their one-goal advantage, Sam Finn and a host of other players converged on the puck along the boards. For nearly 30 seconds, the players held the puck up without moving more than a couple of feet at a time. In frustration, Gatineau’s leading scorer, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, cross-checked Finn. Officials whistled him for the infraction, and, with the power play, the Maineiacs maintained control of the puck, keeping Olympiques goalie Maxime Clermont on the ice much longer than the team wanted.

“Finn did a good job of controlling the boards all night,” Houle said. “It was great that time that he drew the penalty.”

Lewiston nearly fell into a familiar trap in the third, though, when Michael Chaput went to the box for roughing at the 14:30 mark of the third. But as it has so many times this season, Lewiston’s penalty killing unit rose to the challenge.

“It’s been great, and it was especially in the third there,” Houle said. “We kept the puck deep on them and they really didn’t have any chances to score.”

Gatineau began the night with a bit of pressure, and again put the Maineiacs in an early hole on the road when Benjamin Laliberte tipped home a Nicolas Deslauriers shot on the power play.

Brodeur picked off a cross-ice pass at the Lewiston blue line, raced down the ice and scored on a breakaway 6:38 into the second period to knot the score at one.

Morin then potted the winner just 2:01 into the final frame on a feed from Chaput.

“It’s funny how hockey is,” Houle said. “They had two or three really good chances that Champion stopped, and then we went the other way with a 4-on-2 and scored.”

The Maineiacs continue their road swing in Rimouski on Wednesday, followed by a game in Drummondville on Friday before returning home to face Quebec on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

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