LEWISTON – For the second consecutive game, a once-dormant Lewiston Maineiacs’ offense displayed a deft scoring touch.

Marc-Andre Cliche led the charge with a pair of goals as six different players scored in a decisive 7-3 victory over the Gatineau Olympiques in front of 3,010 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Sunday.

“They came into this building winning six in a row, and the coaches told us we had to play hard from the start to get a win here in this game,” Maineiacs’ forward Stefan Chaput said. “We got off to a really good start, which was a big part of the game plan, and we played a full 60 minutes today.”

The win, Lewiston’s third in a row, gave the Maineiacs a six-point cushion on Cape Breton in the race for first place in the Eastern Division after the Screaming Eagles lost another home game, this time to the St. John’s Fog Devils.

“That’s a good cushion for us,” Cliche said. “We have to keep playing hard now, and if we do, I don’t think that Cape Breton can reach us.”

The Maineiacs put any lingering doubts about their potential to waste early in the first, and seemed to catch the Olympiques flat-footed.

“We got outplayed from the first to the last minute by a very good team,” Gatineau coach Benoit Groulx said. “They were first on the puck. They were outskating us, and they outmuscled us all night.”

A shocked Gatineau team ended the first period staring at a three-goal deficit.

Cliche continued his torrid streak at 2:45 of the first with his 17th of the season, as he buried the puck from the left side of the net on a rebound in front of Gatineau netminder Tyler Pugh.

Eric Castonguay stole the puck from Ken Dufresne in the right circle and lofted the puck top shelf over Pugh’s glove at 5:28 to put Lewiston ahead 2-0, and David Perron tipped in a Michal Korenko shot from the right point at the 15-minute mark to make it 3-0.

Gatineau threatened to steal the Maineiacs’ momentum early in the second when Dave Bertrand picked off a clearing attempt by Peter Delmas and deposited the gift into a wide open net.

But Lewiston roared back.

Pierre-Luc Faubert scored his 28th of the season at 8:17 when he tipped Chad Denny’s point shot past Pugh while falling to his back.

Cliche potted his second of the game at 17:55 on a goalmouth scramble, and Stefano Giliati scored with less than one second to play in the middle frame with the flip of his wrists on a backhand shot from in tight.

“Their shot rimmed out around the boards,” Chaput said. “I heard Gili say ‘skate, skate.’ I knew there wasn’t a lot of time on the clock. I picked up my head and saw Giliati there, and instead of shooting I gave it to him in front. He made a nice move to beat the goalie, and that broke them, I think.”

Gatineau struck for a pair of power-play markers in the third period to close to within three at 6-3, but Chaput capped a three-point night with a goal at 19:26 to finish the scoring.

The Maineiacs play their next five games on the road, starting with a pair in Bathurst against the Titan on Friday and Saturday.


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