LEWISTON — The Lewiston Maineiacs aren’t trying to make every game they’re playing lately into a nail-biter, it just seems that way.

For the fourth time in five games over the last seven days, the Maineiacs came out on the winning end of a goalie-pulled situation at the end of a game, earning a 5-4 win over the Shawinigan Cataractes at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday.

“It was ugly, I thought we came out strong, but the second period we didn’t compete. We didn’t work hard and Adrien Lemay made some big saves to keep us in,” Maineiacs coach J.F. Houle said. “We found a way to win tonight. That’s a good sign.”

Michael Chaput and Pier-Olivier Morin had a pair of goals each and Chaput and Etienne Brodeur added a pair of assists to complement Lemay’s 36 saves in the win, Lewiston’s fourth in five games under Houle, all of which came in a calendar week due to a compacted New Year’s schedule.

“It will be nice to have a couple of days now to rest and have some time to practice some things,” Houle said. “I’m proud of the boys, though. They found a way to win again.”

For Shawinigan, the loss was a familiar refrain. The Cataractes are struggling to win games of late, despite putting plenty of shots on net.

“We knew they liked to stretch it out, and our defensemen didn’t do a good job early on of recognizing that and playing it properly,” Shawinigan coach Eric Veilleux said. “When you get 40 shots on net, you expect to be winning the game, and we didn’t play well enough defensively for that to happen (Saturday).”

Try as they might, the Maineiacs, who fell behind 1-0 early, never could extend the lead despite plenty of opportunities. Brodeur missed two breakaway chances, and twice the Maineiacs hit the post on goalmouth scrums. Still, the two points are what mattered most.

“We weathered the storm and we came back and scored,” Houle said. “We found a way.”

Antoine Houde-Caron converted a Zach Shannon turnover on a power play into a shorthanded goal for Shawinigan at 12:54 of the first to open the scoring.

Morin struck back at 15:51 with a tip-in off a Shawinigan defender to cap an ice-length rush, and he helped set up a go-ahead tally on the power play in the period’s final minute. On that one, he helped two of the newest Maineiacs pot the team’s first power play tally in four games. His feed from the corner sprung newcomer Jess Tanguy at the right circle. Tanguy found a seam through the slot to Oskar Orrpars, who roofed a wrister from the left circle to put Lewiston ahead 2-1. 

The Maineiacs fired the first three shots of the second period on Shawinigan keeper Gabriel Girard to begin the frame, but fell dormant for the next 11 minutes. Meanwhile, the Cataractes peppered Lemay with several quality chances, and the 20-year-old keeper kept his squad in front.

“We’re playing a much more open style now, I like it,” Lemay said. “Before, we were losing games 3-2, 4-2, and now we’re scoring more goals and winning with five and six goals.”

Lewiston’s next series of shots on net came thanks to a power play, and Chaput made the volley of shots count, burying a backhander past Girard after a scrum in front to give the home squad a 3-1 advantage.

That was short-lived, though. Charles-Olivier Roussel snuck in from the right point at 18:13 on a 4-on-4 situation and roofed a feed from Dave Labrecque over Lemay’s outstretched glove to again pull the visitors within a goal at 3-2.

The teams again started trading goals in the third. Olivier Ouellet evened the game at 3-3 at 5:28 on another shorthanded goal for the Cats. Chaput potted his second of the night less than two minutes later to again put Lewiston on top, and Morin buried his second at 9:58 to put Lewiston on top by a pair for the second time.

Shawinigan’s Philippe Paradis drew his squad to within one at 11:41, but the Cats never scored again, despite playing most of the final 90 seconds with Girard on the bench.

Lewiston’s next game is again at home on Thursday against Acadie-Bathurst. 

Maineiacs complete minor deal

The Lewiston Maineiacs completed the only official deal of the day in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on Saturday, acquiring 18-year-old goaltender Dwayne Rodrigue from the PEI Rocket for a seventh-round pick in the 2010 draft.

“It was a depth move,” Maineiacs’ GM Roger Shannon said. “Right now, we had no goalies in the organization from Quebec and we were in trouble if we needed someone when we were there.”

Rodrigue is 9-9 for Thetford Mines of the Quebec Junior AAA League with a 4.21 goals against average and an .889 save percentage. His team is ninth in the 14-team league.

The move prompted some speculation that the Maineiacs may be in the process of shopping 20-year-old starting goalie Adrien Lemay, but Shannon said Lemay will finish the season in Lewiston.

“He’s our goalie,” Shannon said. “The rest of the way, Adrien’s our guy.”

Shannon said that the task of finding a full-time goalie for next season and beyond will not be easy, but he is confident the team will succeed in that task.

“We’ll be spending a lot of time after the end of the season, through the draft and to the start of next season working on that,” Shannon said. “And there’s always the Euro draft, too, don’t forget that.”


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