LEWISTON – David Perron emerged from the Lewiston Maineiacs’ locker room with stitches on the bridge of his nose.

“That’s playoffs, I guess,” Perron said with a shrug.

Perron was all about the playoff mystique Friday night as the Maineiacs took on the Shawinigan Cataractes in Game 1 of their first-round series at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Heck, he was the playoff mystique.

Perron scored a natural hat trick – his final two coming with less than 1:30 to play in regulation – to lift the Maineiacs to a thrilling 4-2 victory over the Cataractes before a crowd of 2,668.

Chad Denny capped off the scoring with an empty-net goal off the defensive zone glass. Jonathan Bernier needed to make just 16 saves to earn the win.

“A game like this, it gave us a wake-up call,” Maineiacs’ forward Pierre-Luc Faubert said. “We weren’t playing that well at the beginning of the game, but Perron, he played awesome. … We were glad to win the first one.”

Perron’s stitched-up – and possibly broken – nose happened as he scored the game-winning goal, a power-play-tally from in tight on Shawinigan netminder Kevin Maletto at 19:06 of the final frame.

“The puck was right there on the line, and I kicked it to my stick,” Perron said. “I knew it was a goal right away.”

The officials weren’t so certain, and called up to the replay official to make sure. There was no conclusive evidence to the contrary, so his goal stood.

Just 31 seconds earlier, Perron slid the puck through Maletto’s pads on the front end of a 5-on-3 power play.

“I got the pass, and the goalie was right on the post,” Perron said. “He had it all covered at first, so I had to wait for it to open up.”

The ending spoiled the Cataractes’ fantastic road game, a game which they led 2-1 with less than two minutes to remaining.

“I wish I could say we were undisciplined,” Shawinigan coach Eric Veilleux said. “We had some penalties to kill, we did it at the beginning, but 5-on-3 is a big opportunity to score for them, and they did.”

Shawinigan jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second period, temporarily silencing the Maineiacs’ faithful.

Patrick Bernier started the scoring at 7:08 when he fired a rebound off a good save by Jonathan Bernier past the prone netminder. Adam Bourque followed that with a power-play goal off of Bernier’s mask at 10:32.

The Maineiacs broke the ice late in the second at the tail end of their own man advantage. After squandering a 5-on-3 power play, Perron made sure the team would have at least something to show going into the intermission. He took a rebound after a big flurry in front of Maletto and fired a backhander into the net behind the fallen netminder to cut the Shawinigan lead in half.

From there, the Cataractes appeared to fall into a slower rhythm, like they were sitting on their lead.

“There are a couple of guys on the team that we thought could have given a little bit more,” Veilleux said. “We need them to do that. Being a young team, we need everybody to chip in and do his job.”

Veilleux also said he felt the Maineiacs had “taken liberties” with some of his players Friday night, and was anxious to see his captain, Kevin Cormier, who was suspended for Game 1, return to action.

The same two teams will square off today at 7 p.m. at the Colisee in Game 2.

[email protected]rnal.com


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