LEWISTON – The Lewiston Maineiacs didn’t need eight goals this time. Jonathan Bernier made sure of it.

Bernier stopped 25 of the 26 shots – allowing just a 5-on-3 goal in the third period – and Stefan Chaput made his first appearance of the playoffs in the goals column with a pair, including the game-clinching empty-netter, to lift the Maineiacs to a 4-1 victory over the Halifax Mooseheads.

The victory in Game 2 of their best-of-seven, second-round playoff series, in front of 3,347 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, gives Lewiston a 2-0 lead as it shifts to Halifax for Games 3, 4 and, if necessary, 5.

“This was a very important win for us,” Maineiacs’ captain Marc-Andre Cliche said. “Last year, I think that’s part of the reason we had problems there when we went back for three games.”

One year ago, Lewiston split their first two playoff games against Halifax at home, lost two of three on the road and lost the series in six games.

Bernier, meanwhile, looked much better in net than he did Friday. He felt better, too.

“I knew I had to bounce back,” Bernier said. “I made the first save, and the guys were there to clear all the rebounds. It makes a big difference.”

The Maineiacs led 1-0 into the third period on a second-period tally by Pierre-Luc Faubert, and took a 2-0 lead just 50 second into the third on Cliche’s goal.

“It was the same thing I had done before,” Cliche said of the move he used to deke Halifax netminder Roger Kennedy. “He stopped the first one, so I changed it a little bit.”

Lewiston nearly clinched the game early in the third in the same manner it clinched Game 1 – on a penalty shot.

This time, with the Maineiacs short two players, Chaput broke through the Halifax defense and was hauled down.

He missed on his chance, though, and less than 30 seconds later Halifax rookie Jakub Voracek scored his sixth of the playoffs to pull the Mooseheads to within one at 2-1.

Bernier then stopped Ryan Hillier on a breakaway.

“It’s a 2-1 game, and we had a breakaway there with the opportunity to tie it up,” Halifax coach Cam Russell said. “That was our plan, that’s what we wanted to try and do, but we have to make sure we limit their chances next time.”

At 10:16 of the third, Chaput, fresh off the bench, converted on a wacky rebound in front of Kennedy to once again put Lewiston ahead by two.

“Michal (Korenko) took a great shot. I got the rebound, and I got a little lucky because it hit a defenseman’s stick,” Chaput said. “It was hard not to hit it again with a high stick, but I let it go and it went right in over the goalie.”

On the other end, Halifax threw everything it had at Bernier, who made 12 of his 25 stops in the final frame. But the Los Angeles Kings’ draft pick stood tall.

Voracek, who had 18 points – including 14 assists – in seven games against Moncton in the first round, has two goals and no assists against the Maineiacs. On Saturday, he had a hard time quarterbacking the Halifax power play, which has gone dormant at just 2-for-17 in two games.

“Sometimes it bounces the right way, sometimes it bounces the wrong way,” Russell said.

Lewiston, meanwhile, appeared to play much better, but the coaching staff was less than pleased.

“We still have some work to do,” Maineiacs’ assistant Jeff Guay said. “In the third period, they had a lot of shots, and they came back a bit. Defensively we did some good things, but we didn’t use the boards enough, and it gave Halifax some chances.”

The teams will square off in Game 3 Tuesday night at the Halifax Metro Centre.


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