LEWISTON – The Lewiston Maineiacs are starting to like this shootout business.

David Perron rocked left, shifted right and fired a quick wrist shot past Mark Yetman on the Maineiacs’ third attempt in the shootout to lift Lewiston to an important 4-3 win over the Halifax Mooseheads in front of 2,300 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Thursday.

“(Pierre-Luc) Faubert had gone in before me and hit the post low blocker,” Perron said. “I figured I’d go low glove if he gave it to me.”

With the win and a surprising Cape Breton home loss to Saint John, the Maineiacs created some space between themselves and the Screaming Eagles in the race for first place in the Eastern Division. With 82 points, Lewiston is four points clear of Cape Breton with a game in hand.

“Between the second and third we found out that Cape Breton lost,” Maineiacs’ captain Marc-Andre Cliche said. “That gave us a lot of energy, and we came back out in the third and played that much harder.”

Playing hard in the third didn’t have the results the team wanted, though. Holding a 3-2 lead, the Maineiacs allowed a soft goal to Halifax winger Yuri Cheremetiev, who crossed the blue line with four Maineiacs in front of him, and somehow found the time and space to fire a wrist shot that bounced off of Peter Delmas and into the net.

“Delmas let in two soft goals tonight,” assistant coach Jeff Guay, “but the way he bounced back, that was important.”

Delmas finished with 31 saves, including two in the shootout (the third hit the crossbar) and one on a clear breakaway attempt by Colby Pridham.

“On one of them, (Jakub) Voracek, I thought he was going to deke, so I went down to be able to move, and he hit my stick, which I never moved,” Delmas said. “The other one, I saw his eyes going to the top corner, so I left my blocker up high and deflected it with that.”

Like most games in the past two years, Thursday night’s affair with Halifax was hard-hitting.

“From the beginning, they were very physical, and that opened up opportunities for both teams,” Guay said. “It was a good, hard-hitting game like it always is against them.

Halifax skipper Cam Russell was pleased with his team’s effort. The Mooseheads began a three-game road trip with this overtime loss.

“The effort was there,” Russell said. “They had every reason to be tired after a 14-hour bus ride yesterday through the snow, but they came out here and played well with the number one team in the league.”

The Mooseheads got on the board first, just 48 seconds into the game, on a Voracek goal on a Lewiston defensive breakdown.

No sooner had Simon Courcelled tied the game at 12:33 of the first than Ryan Hillier countered with his team-leading 29th of the season to make it 2-1 Halifax.

Lewiston potted a pair in the second. The first came on a clear breakaway by Chris Tutalo with a shot to the low blocker on Yetman, and the second on Perron’s 30th of the year as he dug out a loose puck in front, shimmied to his left and roofed the puck into the net.

Lewiston plays tonight on the road against Shawinigan, and returns to home ice Sunday afternoon to face the Gatineau Olympiques.

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