Maineiacs hold off Drakkar

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LEWISTON – Two-goal leads are precarious in hockey. One shift in momentum can swing the game either way.

Three goals, at least in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, are safer, but still a bit precarious.

On Sunday, the Lewiston Maineiacs nearly added four-goal leads to that list.

Stefan Chaput and Chad Denny scored a goal and added two assists each, and Stefano Giliati added three assists to lead the Maineiacs to a 7-6 victory over the visiting Baie-Comeau Drakkar in front of 2,457 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“I think we kind of panicked,” Chaput said. “We went up by four and we started throwing the puck away.”

“Our in-zone coverage, we were rushing all over the place,” Maineiacs’ forward Pierre-Luc Faubert said. “But we held them off. That was good.”

Behind 7-3 in the third after two quick goals from Maineiacs’ Marc-Andre Daneau and Stefan Chaput, the Drakkar started on their way back. Francois Bouchard scored his second of the game at 10:14 to make it 7-4. Joakim Jensen potted his second of three on the night at 14:46, and with 2:17 to play, Jensen completed his hat trick with a tip-in goal from four feet out.

“Suddenly we decided to play aggressive again,” Baie-Comeau coach Eric Dubois said. “We created some scoring chances, but it was a little too late for us.”

Bouchard finished the game with six points – two goals and four assists – and was essential on his team’s power play, which finished 3 for 7.

“He has good hands, he makes good decisions with the puck, and you need to if you want to go to a higher level,” Dubois said.

In the final two minutes, though, Lewiston managed to shut the Drakkar down, thanks in part to solid play from Jonathan Bernier in net, who despite the six goals, played well.

“They’re two pretty good goalies, but both teams have some pretty good scorers,” Faubert said. “They’re able to score a lot, even on Bernier, and we can score, too.”

Lewiston twice pulled ahead in the opening period, gaining leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on goals from David Taylor and Triston Manson sandwiched around a Baie-Comeau strike on a partial breakaway by Bouchard.

For Manson, his first goal of the season at home was a long time coming.

“It’s nice to finally get one,” Manson said. “I hadn’t scored one here since training camp.”

Later in the period, though, the Maineiacs fell into penalty trouble. Three consecutive 5-on-3 power plays for the Drakkar yielded two more goals – both set up by Bouchard.

Alexandre Picard-Hooper potted his 24th of the season at 16:07, and Jensen tallied his 19th at 17:25.

“We really liked that first period,” Dubois said. “Their first goal kind of woke us up.”

Also late in the first, Lewiston lost Kevin Marshall for the rest of the game and for Tuesday’s tilt against St. John’s after he was assessed a match penalty for a high stick to the face.

In the second, Lewiston came alive, and the Maineiacs’ power play returned the favor. Patrick Cusack, Faubert and Denny all scored to give Lewiston a 5-3 lead.

The team leaves for Montreal today, where it will catch a plane to fly to St. John’s, Newfoundland, for a three-game set with the Fog Devils.

Lewiston’s general manager Clem Jodoin returned to Lewiston Sunday and watched the game from the stands. He said the possibility is still there that the Maineiacs will make some sort of move prior to today’s noon trade deadline.

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