LEWISTON – The short bench finally caught up with the Lewiston Maineiacs.

After surviving the first period in a 2-2 deadlock, Lewiston collapsed in the second, allowing Shawinigan to score three times on its way to a 6-2 win over the Maineiacs in front of 2,774 fans at the Colisse.

The loss is the Maineiacs fourth straight loss since blanking Chicoutimi on the road on November 9th, their third in a row at home, and drops the team’s record to 10-12-4 overall and 6-5-1 at home.

“There are no excuses,” said Maineiacs coach Clem Jodoin. “Excuses are for losers. I just asked the team why they can play for one period and then they collapse. I wish they would tell me why.”

The team played the game on Friday missing several key players, including its leading scorer and the leading goal-scorer in the league, Alexandre Picard, who is sitting out this game and the All-Star games against Russia next week with a concussion.

Jonathan Paiement also missed Friday’s game and will miss next Wednesday’s tilt as well after being suspended for two games for a knee-on-knee hit against Baie-Comeau, and Chad Denny sat out with an upper body injury, leaving the Maineiacs with just four regular defensemen. Michael Lafleur played in his fourth game of the season to help out on the blue line.

“I don’t care if we play with three defensemen or two defensemen, those are not excuses. If you are taking the place of a player, you need to bring your whole game, your A game, not your B or C game. And you need to bring it all the time.”

Still, the Maineiacs managed to hang with Shawinigan through a period and a half, trailing the Cataractes 3-2 with five minutes to go in the second frame.

A penalty to Travis Mealy with a man already in the box changed that in a hurry. On the ensuing 5-on-3 power play, Simon-Pierre Sauve banged a rebound past Lewiston netminder Jaroslav Halak to give his team a cushion, and then with Mealy still in the box, Shawinigan added another power play goal on a weak wrister through traffic by Pierre-Marc Guilbault.

“Those were big goals for us,” said Shawinigan coach Denis Francoeur. “This win was big, knowing that we have to go home and prepare for Gatineau on short rest.”

Lewiston’s best chance to start climbing back into the game came late in the second when an apparent goal by Maxime Mathieu was waved off after being played with a high stick.

The Maineiacs had their fourth power play of the night to start the third period, but could not capitalize, and the momentum shifted back to the Cataractes.

“If we score at the beginning of the third, we are at 5-3 and it is a whole new game,” said Jodoin. “Anything can happen at that point.”

At 5:03 of the third, Francis Pare scored from a tough angle to the left of Halak in a top-shelf wrister, banking it in off the post to cap the scoring.

“That was the back-breaker,” said Francoeur. “I think that was the biggest play of the game for us, to put them away.”

Halak made just 27 saves on 33 shots, and this time the goals weren’t being deflected in from close range.

“For me, when you have a bad goal, you are in trouble,” said Jodoin. “When you have two bad goals, you are in BIG trouble.”

In the first, the Maineiacs caught a break with points from an unusual source – the line of Ryan Murphy, Colby Gilbert and Olivier Legault – which may have been the team’s most consistent line of the night.

“They played great tonight,” said Jodoin. “They played very, very well. They hit, they forchecked, they had scoring chances and they were physical in front of the net.”

With the puck trapped behind the net, Gilbert dug in a swiveled toward the front, sliding the puck to Murphy. Murphy’s first offering hit Legault in front and caromed back out to the right. One move later, Murphy gathered the puck, banked a u-turn and fired the puck past Ellis for the 1-0 lead.

“If you are willing to be ugly, to pay the price, you will score goals,” said Jodoin. “If you are too nice, you won’t.”

After Jonathan Boutin knotted the score at one three minutes later, Alex Bourret answered right back with his 16th of the year on a nifty feed from Mathieu from behind the net, again putting the Maineiacs up by one.

Boutin assisted on a Sebastien Courcelles goal at 12:33 to tie the game at two in a mirror-image of Bourret’s goal.

Lewiston’s next game comes after a small break, on Wednesday night against the P.E.I. Rocket at the Colisee.

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