VAL-D’OR, Quebec – The Lewiston Maineiacs found yet another way to win Tuesday, and have put themselves one victory away from claiming the President’s Cup.

Chad Denny finished off a give-and-go with Stefano Giliati at 10:29 of the third period – the Maineiacs’ second goal in a span of 1:23 – to give Lewiston its first lead of the game. The Maineiacs went on to a 5-3 victory over the Val-d’Or Foreurs in front of a sold-out crowd the Air Creebec Centre.

“We had to come down here and keep the game as tight as possible,” Maineiacs’ coach Clem Jodoin said. “To stay in the game as long as we could. We knew it wouldn’t be easy.”

Denny started the play as he wheeled around his own net with the teams skating 4-on-4. One of Val-d’Or’s forwards chased Denny around the net, giving Lewiston a 4-on-3 break heading up the ice.

“I was able to beat the first forechecker,” Denny said. “It was an odd-man rush going the other way and eventually a 2-on-1 with Giliati.”

Denny drew the two defenders toward him at the red line and slid the puck to the left boards, where Giliati flew past one of the defensemen. At the goal line, Giliati slid the puck back toward the middle.

“When he fed me that puck I saw the lane to the net,” Giliati said. “I was actually looking for (Simon) Courcelles on the play.”

Instead, the puck went to Denny, who slid a backhand underneath Val-d’Or goaltender Jeremy Duchesne.

“He gave it right back,” Denny said. “It was a backhanded one-timer.”

Neither team had a particularly good day on the power play, but neither team had many chances, either. Lewiston finished 1 for 3 with the extra skater, while Val-d’Or finished up 0 for 3.

Jonathan Bernier stopped 21 of the 24 shots he saw, while Duchesne made 20 saves on 24 shots.

The partisan crowd erupted at 4:37 of the first period when Kristopher Letang fired a wrist shot through a crowd and beat Bernier through the legs on a feed from Brad Marchand to push the home team to a 1-0 lead.

“This team has com from behind before, we’ve done it all year,” Denny said.

“It was all positive talk in the room,” Giliati said.

Jakub Bundil, getting more ice time in the first period than he did in Game 2 last Saturday, converted a perfect tip at the left post on a nice feed from David Taylor for his second goal of the playoffs to knot the score at one.

The teams skated even for the next five minutes, when the Maineiacs established their forecheck. In a few post-whistle scrums, the Foreurs took a few extra jabs, handing the Maineiacs a late two-man advantage that carried over into the second period.

Despite the prolonged advantage, Lewiston failed to score. Momentum swung back to the Foreurs, who took their second lead of the game at 7:48 on a Jerome Samson goal that glanced off of Bernier’s stick.

Chris Tutalo evened things up again less than two minutes later on his own strange goal, when the puck caromed off of Tutalo’s stick behind the net, off of a player in front, off the right goal post and off the goaltender before finally crossing the goal line.

Val-d’Or answered later in the period when Mathieu Roy followed up a Brad Marchand chance with a rebound goal at the left side of the net to put the Foreurs ahead, 3-2.

Marc-Andre Cliche evened the score in the third with his sixth of the playoffs at 9:06, setting up Denny’s winner.

Pierre-Luc Faubert capped the scoring with a shot into an empty net with four seconds to play.

Game 4 is tonight. A Maineiacs’ win will give Lewiston a four-game sweep of the series and the team’s first President’s Cup trophy.

jpelletie[email protected]


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