Eric Castonguay, once a linemate of the streaking Stafn Chaput and Stefano Giliati, snapped an eight-game goal drought in a big way Saturday night, and in the process helped the Lewiston Maineiacswelcome back their head coach in a big way.

Castonguay scored three consecutive goals spanning the end of the first period and the beginning of the second and assisted on another to lead the Maineiacs to their 20th win of the season, a 5-1 decision over Val d’Or at the Centre Air Creebec.

“He was our sharpshooter tonight,” said Maineiacs’ assistant coach Ed Harding. “He and Pier-Luc (Champagne) and Max (Mathieu) worked hard as a unit tonight.”

Castonguay, who had a penchant for scoring crucial goals last season for the Maineiacs and started this season well, especially while playing on the power play with Mathieu Aubin and Marc-Andre Cliche,

had tailed off in recent weeks. Saturday, two of his points – one goal and his assist -came while playing on his regular line, while the other two came on the power play.

“(Castonguay) has been a crucial member of the power play for us this year,” said Harding. “On that stretch where we scored five power play goals in two games, he was a big part of that.”

Saturday’s game was also the first game back for Kevin Marshall and Michal Korenko, two regular defensemen who hadn’t seen game action for the Maineiacs in nearly a month due to separate tournaments. The coaching staff, along with the rest of the Maineiacs’ blue line staff, was happy with their return.

“It was unbelieveable seeing all the guys back,” said Harding. “We were able to come at them with four lines, and the defensemen really moved the puck well.”

Jonathan Bernier stopped 27 shots to earn the win, while the newest Foreur, goaltender Philippe Roberge stopped 28 of 33 shots in the loss.

The Maineiacs struck first at 7:08 when Castonguay converted on the power play with help from Aubin and Cliche on the Maineiacs’ 10th shot of the game.

It was the team’s second chance of five on the power play on the night. Lewiston finished 2-of-5 with the extra skater.

Castonguay made it two for two on shot attempts at 15:24 of the first frame on a feed from linemate Pier-Luc Champagne to give the Maineiacs a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.

Castonguay finished off his hat trick at 4:10 of the second period, again with a power play goal from Cliche and Jonathan Paiement as the Maineiacs settled into cruise control.

“I was very happy that we doubled the score in the second period,” said Harding, and even in the third, before the glass broke, we kept the gas pedal down.”

On cue, Castonguay notched his fourth point of the night with an assist to Brandon Roach as he blasted his 14th of the season past Roberge on a feed across the point from Chad Denny.

Stefan Chaput converted passes from Roach and Giliati in the third period to keep his six-game point streak alive. Guillaume Chicoine scored at 19:28 of the third to cap the scoring.

The Maineiacs play again this afternoon against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, their second of four consecutive road games in seven days.


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