LEWISTON – The Lewiston Maineiacs appeared to be wired to a faulty light switch Friday night.

For 24 minutes, the Maineiacs dominated the Prince Edward Island Rocket. For the next 16, the visitors returned the favor.

In the third period, the teams traded moments of solid play, followed inevitably by hockey more closely related to local midget hockey than to junior hockey.

David Perron banked a shot off PEI defenseman Pierre-Marc Guilbault’s stick to score his second goal of the night at 9:49 of the third period and the Maineiacs held on late to eke out a 5-4 win over the Rocket in front of 2,924 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“I said to the boys after the game, I told them that they thought the game was over when we got ahead by three goals,” said Lewiston coach Clem Jodoin. “These are two good teams and we can’t afford not to play all 60 minutes.”

The Rocket lost their fourth of five after running off eight straight games with at least one point.

“I didn’t think we played well in the first period,” said PEI coach Yanick Jean. “There is a big difference from when we played them at home (a 7-1 Lewiston win), but we thought we could win this game.”

Early and often, the play was physical, too. The Rocket are a large team, with just five of their players listed below 6-feet tall, while Lewiston relies more on its speed, especially without enforcer Triston Manson in the lineup due to injury.

But the smaller, speedier Maineiacs refused to back down. Even defenseman Sebastien Piche responded a call to fight by Guillaume Doucet.

“I saw a couple of dirty things from the other team,” said Jean, “and we will remember those for sure (tonight). I am glad we have a chance to play them again.”

One casualty in the rougher play Friday night was Maineiacs’ blueliner Kevin Marshall, who left the game in the third period after being sandwiched on the boards by two PEI skaters. Marshall felt pain in his upper back and was going for precautionary X-rays Friday night.

The Maineiacs rumbled through the first 24 minutes, dominating every facet of the game. Lewiston also took a 3-0 lead thanks to two highlight-reel goals from Eric Castonguay and a workman’s goal from captain Marc-Andre Cliche with .6 seconds remaining in the first period.

Castonguay’s first, at 10:29 of the first, came as the speedy forward out-worked a PEI defenseman and cut to the middle. His first shot at Mior hit the goaltender in the chest, but as Castonguay dove through the top of the crease, he tapped the puck past the prone goaltender.

Cliche’s goal came under review after he poked the puck over the line, seemingly as the buzzer sounded, but the replay showed differently, in favor of the Maineiacs.

“That one goal made a big difference in this hockey game,” said Jean.

Castonguay sniped his second goal from the left circle as he spotted an open top left corner over Mior’s shoulder and fired the puck through PEI defenseman Pierre-Luc Lessard’s legs and past a screened Mior.

“The goalie didn’t see me,” said Castonguay. “The defenseman went down and his leg was open, so I shot it through.”

Lewiston’s game fell flat from there. A fluke goal from captain David Laliberte at 4:49 and a power play goal from rookie Chris Doyle at 15:35 — on a play Lewiston maintained was offside — pulled the visiting Rocket back to within one at 3-2.

“Their four goals were given to them by us,” said Maineiacs’ forward Stefano Giliati. “Those were our mistakes, and I think if we touch that up, it’s not going to be any easier, but if we make fewer mistakes, we should come out on top again.”

In the third, Lewiston fired back with two goals from Perron. His first, at 5:42, was on a feed from linemate Chris Tutalo.

“I pulled a lob wedge,” joked Tutalo after the game. “I thought after I did that that Perron might have a chance at the puck if it didn’t hit the ceiling. I was getting low with my body, trying to will the puck to sit down.”

His second, the game-winner, came at 9:49.

Pascal Boutin and Pierre-Luc Lessard potted goals in the final seven minutes of the third to again pull the Rocket within one, but the Maineiacs shut the door in the final 3:36 to preserve the win.

The same two teams will battle tonight at 7 at the Colisee.


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