LEWISTON – The train reached track No. 9 Friday night.

Marc-Andre Daneau scored two goals in the first period and added an assist late in the third, and Jonathan Bernier stopped 27 of 29 shots to lead the Lewiston Maineiacs to a 5-2 win over the visiting Acadie-Bathurst Titan in front of 3,000 fans at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“Lewiston is the best team in our division. We’ve said it countless times,” said Bathurst coach John Chabot. “You want to gauge yourself against the best, and we made mistakes that really cost us. When you make any mistakes against a team like this, it is going to cost you.”

The win was the Maineiacs ninth win in a row, establishing a new franchise record, and also snapped the Titan’s five-game streak.

“They had 55 of their 124 goals on the power play, so we knew we had to stay out of the box,” said Maineiacs’ assistant coach Jeff Guay.

“They transition well offensively, so we had to keep the puck deep. We executed the game plan well for the most part.”

According to Guay, the streak, which started with a 3-0 win over Cape Breton on Nov. 3, didn’t weigh much on the players’ minds heading into the game.

Afterward, Bernier was cognizant of the streak, but wasn’t preoccupied with it.

“It’s good to get a new record for the team, but we have to keep going every game,” said Bernier. “We can’t stop. Before Christmas, every point is a golden point, so every night we have to play hard.”

The Titan, meanwhile, had won nine of 10, the only loss at the hands of the Maineiacs in overtime on Nov. 7.

Bathurst struggled in transition most of the night, and the turnovers created in the center zone proved costly.

“To compete against a team like Lewiston, you have to have everything going,” said Chabot. “We wanted to place the puck and go after it and we got carried away and tried to force things, and things like that, you pay for.”

In a nearly flawless first period, the Maineiacs jumped all over the Titan. After allowing four shots early, the defense closed the door on the Titan’s explosive offense, allowing just one shot to reach Bernier in the final 17 minutes of the frame.

“They have a very good team, they’re fast and they can move the puck,” said Maineiacs’ defenseman Marc-Andre Crete. “We had to keep them to the blueline and not let them pass or shoot down low. We had to play smart and try not to turn the puck over, because with their speed, they can take advantage of that.”

Offensively, Daneau twice beat a defender wide and elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 down low. Both times, the Maineiacs’ forward beat Miller high to the stick side.

Daneau’s first on the night, his sixth of the season, came just 1:46 into the game and his shot knicked Miller’s pad and caught the top left corner of the net.

On his second, Daneau converted a turnover into a goal at 10:33. Maineiacs’ rookie Danick Hudon-Paquette drove to the right post and pulled Miller off the left side just enough to allow Daneau some room short-side.

“You have to shoot if you want to score,” said Daneau. “I had a nice pass from Giliati on the first one, and I was hoping for a rebound but it went in, and the second one, I was alone on the left and had the shot.”

On the other end, Bernier made two critical saves — one a left pad save on a Dany Masse shot on the doorstep and the other a breakaway stop on Tomy Joly at 13:27.

Things opened up a bit in the second period, and both goaltenders had to play well. Bernier stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the middle period to preserve the Maineiacs’ two-goal edge.

Martin Bartos cut the Acadie-Bathurst deficit to one 4:12 into the period as the Titan’s league-leading power play scored against the Maineiacs’ league-best penalty-killing unit.

Chad Denny scored on Lewiston’s fourth attempt with an extra skater at 13:33 to give the Maineiacs back their two-goal edge.

In the third, David Perron scored his team-leading 17th goal and Stefano Giliati banged home a Daneau rebound off the back boards to put Lewiston ahead 5-1. Thomas Beauregard potted his 36th goal of the year on a weird ricochet at 13:48 for Bathurst’s second goal.

Lewiston will be back on Colisee ice tonight to take on the Saint John Sea Dogs at 7 p.m. Saint John lost to Moncton on Friday, 5-4.


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