LEWISTON – Turnovers told the story in another close game between the cellar-dwelling Saint John Sea Dogs and league-leading Lewiston Maineiacs on Wednesday.

The Maineiacs, for the fifth time this season, came out on top.

Pierre-Luc Faubert and Chris Tutalo scored goals 2:12 apart early in the third period and Jonathan Bernier was solid in net, making 23 saves, to lead Lewiston to a 3-2 win over pesky Saint John in front of 2,122 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“It’s all about turnovers,” Lewiston assistant coach Ed Harding said. “That’s the name of the game. It’s a game of mistakes.”

Two of Lewiston’s turnovers, a number Harding would only say was “too many,” resulted in the two Saint John goals. Likewise, all three Lewiston goals followed Sea Dog turnovers in their own zone or a lapse in defensive-zone coverage.

“We made errors that could have been prevented and that lost us the game,” Saint John coach Jacques Beaulieu said. “You can’t make those mistakes against good teams.”

The Lewiston win also spoiled former Lewiston netminder Travis Fullerton’s return to Colisee ice. The Maineiacs traded Fullerton to Saint John nearly three weeks ago. He has played in four games for the Sea Dogs and faced more than 35 shots in each game.

“We’re ecstatic, we’re happy with him,” Beaulieu said. “He gives us a chance to win every night.”

“I almost expected some boos,” Fullerton admitted. “It was fun playing in front of this crowd again.”

The Maineiacs played five consecutive minutes at least one player short late in the first period, and spent 3:01 of that time down two skaters. The Sea Dogs pressed, but could not convert.

“We have a young team, we haven’t had much time to practice with all of our new players,” Beaulieu said. “Our power play and penalty kill, that showed tonight.”

“We worked very hard on special teams in the last two days,” Harding said. “We did a lot of video work on them, we walked through Saint John on their power play. We got in their shooting lanes, we stayed tight and we worked together. We showed a lot of character.”

Lewiston came alive late in the period, but Fullerton was equal to the task as well, stopping all 10 of the Maineiacs’ attempts in the opening frame.

The Sea Dogs scored the first goal of the second period on a rare giveaway by defenseman Tom Michalik as he circled his own net. Michalik pushed the puck too far ahead of himself, and Saint John forward Ryan Sparling poked it back toward the Lewiston net. All alone in front, newly-acquired Francois Gauthier slid the puck under Bernier’s left pad as the Lewiston netminder slid from his crease to try and pokecheck the puck away.

The Maineiacs knotted the score at 15:43 of the period when Stefano Giliati changed his mind from pass to shoot in the high slot and fooled Fullerton with a wrist shot that fluttered underneath the crossbar.

“I never saw it,” Fullerton said.

“I wasn’t even looking at the net,” Giliati said. “I saw (Maineiacs’ defenseman Kevin) Marshall streaking down the side, and the defenseman slid over to him and left me open a bit, so I shot it back toward the net.”

Faubert’s goal, the Maineiacs’ lone power play goal on the night, came on a nifty feed from Eric Castonguay in the left corner, and Tutalo’s winner was a gimme after a perfect pass from Pierre-Luc Faubert from nearly the same spot.

Notes: Saint John defenseman David Stich was suspended four games Wednesday for a cross check he delivered to Lewiston forward Stefan Chaput’s head last Saturday … Marc-Andre Perron, who played in one game with Lewiston in the first half before being released over the holiday break, played in his first game for the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League last weekend. He stopped 37 shots and earned the game’s first star in a 4-1 victory … The league approved three minor trades Wednesday, most notably an exchange sending Tyler Hawes and Benoit Levesque from Prince Edward Island to Rouyn-Noranda for the Huskies’ second-round pick at the 2007 draft.

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