The Lewiston Maineiacs were outmatched, outshot and just plain out of gas by the time the third period ended on Sunday.

Jonathan Bernier, who had not played in a game for Lewiston since Dec. 19, was the freshest body on the ice. On Monday, he will be at least as tired as his teammates.

Bernier stuffed the Drummondville Voltigeurs on numerous occasions as time wound down at the Marcel Dionne Center, stopping 22 shots in the final frame alone to lead the Maineiacs to their sixth consecutive win, a 3-1 decision in front of 2,177 spectators.

“It’s always back to the goalie in a game like that,” said Maineiacs coach Clem Jodoin. “He made the key saves in the key moments for us.”

Bernier’s last game was a 3-1 home win over Gatineau before he left for the World Under-17 Championships over the holiday break. Since then, Travis Fullerton and Marc-Andre Perron have both earned points between the pipes and Jaroslav Halak has won four in a row. The rust, however, was not apparent.

Bernier finished with 40 saves behind a four-person defensive front. Chad Denny was a late scratch with a sore ankle and Michal Korenko left in the first period after taking a hard check. Korenko was transported to the hospital where he underwent X-rays on his neck. That left rookies Sebastien Piche and Jonathan Cameron and veterans Brandon Roach and Jonathan Paiement on the bench to man the blue line.

“We played on the road with four defensemen, a 16-year-old in net and a 16-year-old scored our first goal,” said Jodoin. “What else can I ask of this team.”

The win, Lewiston’s 11th in its last 14 games, gives the Maineiacs 51 points on the season with a 22-17-7 record. Rimouski, the team directly in front of the Maineiacs in the standings, took five of six points on a Maritimes road swing this weekend, and remains two points ahead of Lewiston with one more game played.

Things started well for the Maineiacs.

Pierre-Luc Champagne, who was a healthy scratch Saturday, tipped home a goal on a pass from Marc-Andre Daneau at 6:38 of the first to put the Maineiacs ahead 1-0.

“That’s the beauty of this hockey team, is the depth,” said Jodoin. “When we went through so much at the beginning, all of these kids got to play, and now they can play a shift and we don’t miss anything.”

The Voltigeurs started to turn the tide later in the first and potted their only goal of the game when Dave Bouchard tipped home a pass from Alexandre Demers at 13:24, but Bernier shut the door after that.

In the second, after both teams traded opportunities early, Brandon Roach took a face-off win from Colby Gilbert with just 1:28 remaining in the frame and fired it past Drummondville netminder Pier-Olivier Pelletier to give the Maineiacs a 2-1 lead.

“We didn’t win many faceoffs,” said Jodoin. “But we won the key face-offs and we scored.”

Roach added the empty-netter with under a minute to play to finish the scoring after Bernier made numerous key stops with Drummondville on a nearly continuous power play in the final five minutes of the game.

Lewiston is off until Friday when it will face off against Baie-Comeau in the first of two back-to-back games against the Drakkar.

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