For the first time in what seems like weeks to the Lewiston Maineiacs and their fans, the team dominated their opponent Friday night.

Marc-Andre Cliche regained his scoring touch with a pair of goals and led six Lewiston skaters with at least two points as the Maineiacs blasted the free-falling Shawinigan Cataractes, 6-3, in front of 1,855 at Arena Jacques Plante.

“For being on the bus for so long today, we came out in the first and played really hard,” Maineiacs’ assistant coach Jeff Guay said. “We followed the game plan well, had some nice goals and some nice shots.”

Cliche added an assist to his pair of goals, Michael Ward, Kevin Marshall, Eric Castonguay, Pierre-Luc Faubert and David Perron each had two points, and Peter Delmas made 28 saves to earn his 14th win in net.

“We’re happy with what we’re seeing,” Guay said. “The players have responded well. We only put the lines together for the first time on Wednesday.”

Shawinigan has now lost nine games in a row, and are only six points clear of Rimouski for the final playoff spot in the Western Division.

Lewiston, meanwhile, stays four points ahead of Cape Breton, which rebounded from a tough, 2-1 loss to Saint John on Thursday to post a 4-1 win over Sea Dogs on Friday.

Marc-Andre Daneau scored the Maineiacs’ first goal of the season against Shawinigan goaltender Kevin Maletto at 15:21 of the first period to put Lewiston ahead, 1-0. Daneau redirected a feed from Eric Castonguay past the rookie goaltender after Marshall had set up Castonguay along the side boards.

In his last game against Lewiston, Maletto recorded his only career shutout with a 39-save effort at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“He had a great game down there, but that was only one game,” Guay said. “But it’s important to see that we can score on him, too.”

The lead lasted into the second period, but just 5:08 into the middle frame Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll fired the puck past Delmas to even the score.

The teams traded goals 18 seconds apart in the middle part of the second, with Maxime Legault putting the Cataractes on top briefly before David Perron scored his team-leading 31st of the season to again tie the game.

“That was huge,” Guay said. “Cliche won the faceoff to Marshall at the point. Marshall shot, the goalie made a nice save but the defenseman must have missed an assignment, and Perron was wide open.”

Even better for the Maineiacs than that quick reply to tie the game was a breakaway goal by Marc-Andre Cliche at 15:05 to put Lewiston back in front, 3-2.

Shawinigan again tied the game at three in the third, but the Maineiacs pulled away with three goals – one each from Cliche, Chad Denny and Stefano Giliati.

Lewiston will have today off and will host the red-hot Gatineau Olympiques at the Colisee on Sunday at 4 p.m. Gatineau has won six games in a row, including a 3-2 home win against Victoriaville on Friday.


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