LEWISTON – Lewiston Maineiacs defenseman Brandon Roach is modest enough to know when to defer accolades toward the “hard work of (his) teammates),” he just hadn’t had much occasion to do so in recent weeks.

Likewise, the Maineiacs’ power play unit hasn’t had many reasons to celebrate during the team’s recent slide.

Both entities redeemed themselves five-fold Sunday afternoon in front of 2,607 at the Colisee. Roach had a goal and four assists to lead the team to a 5-2 win over the visiting Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

“It’s good to get the points, but I really just had one lucky shot on net,” said Roach. “I made a good couple of passes, but it was a great job on the other end for the forwards to finish it.”

“(Roach) was moving the puck well,” said Maineiacs assistant coach Jeff Guay. “He’s good in the room, talking to the guys. He knows, he’s a 20-year-old and he knows lately he hasn’t had the best games. But he knows he has to pick up his game, and he did that tonight. The whole team did.”

The Titan didn’t fare so well with the extra skater. While the Maineiacs managed five goals on a whopping 14 chances, Bathurst managed just one — on its first shot — in 12 tries, including four two-man advantages.

“I think 5-on-5 we played a very good game, but we took too many stupid penalties,” said Titan coach John Chabot. “A lot of lazy penalties. We knew the way the ref was going to call the game, and we wanted to keep the sticks on the ice, but we got called five, six, seven times for hooking in the offensive zone. Instead of going for the loose puck with our feet, we were going there trying to hook them up and we got caught for it.”

The Maineiacs owe goaltender Jonathan Bernier the lion’s share of the credit for their penalty-killing prowess. Bernier faced 43 Titan shots, including 17 in the final period and most of which came with Bathurst on a power play.

“We studied a little bit of their video,” said Guay. “They’ve got the personnel that can finish. They’ve been clicking, but we got in the shooting lanes and the passing lanes pretty well. (Bernier) started off a little shaky at first, but he stood tall and he intercepted a lot of cross-ice passes, too. It was a good team penalty-kill, too.”

For Bernier, the work in the third, and throughout the game, was all in a day’s work.

“All the time, we were on the PK, and we played that real well,” said Bernier. “We played 5-on-3 a couple times and the defense, they blocked a lot of shots for me, too.”

On the other end of the ice, former Maineiacs goalie Maxime Joyal played well despite his five goals allowed.

“It’s always good to come back to the first building you played in for juniors,” said Joyal, who started the year in Quebec and ended up with the Titan by way of Drummondville. “I wasn’t playing in Quebec, and it’s nice to have a chance to play here.”

“He’s practiced heard and he’s practiced well,” said Chabot. “I thought it would be a good time to have him play, and he played well. He cannot be faulted for anything. We didn’t give him a lot of help.”

Both teams shot out of the gate, with the Maineiacs gaining the early advantage.

Just 2:24 into the game, Marc-Andre Cliche put Lewiston ahead 1-0 on a tip to the right of Joyal.

Mathieu Roy responded with the first of his two in the period to knot the score at 4:59, and temporarily put the Titan ahead less than five minutes later with a shifty breakaway move on Bernier.

Eric Castonguay scored at 14:50 of the first to once again even the game.

The teams combined for 31 shots in the opening frame, many of which came from in tight.

Roach collected his goal on a rifle shot from the left point at 6:02 of the middle period to give the Maineiacs the lead back, and after the teams traded multiple penalties, Stefano Giliati stuffed the puck past Joyal on a great feed from Roach at 18:46.

At 4:31 of the third, Mathieu Aubin pounded home a rebound at the right post to cap the scoring. From there, the Maineiacs killed off five Bathurst power plays.

The win helped Lewiston keep pace with Halifax, which won Sunday against Saint John to remain one point back of the Maineiacs for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.


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