LEWISTON — The visiting coach called it a new sport, “basketball on ice.”

The Lewiston Maineiacs coach called it simply “pathetic.”

The hockey fans who ventured out to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Tuesday — all 1,242 of them — saw what amounted to heavyweight battle between a pair of mediocre offenses, dismal defenses and a triumverate of goalies who were off their games enough to make it all possible.

Montreal captain Nicolas Chouinard set a new personal best with five goals, including the game-clinching empty-netter in the final minute, as the Junior rallied twice from a two-goal deficit to take out the Maineiacs 9-7.

“I thought it was a pathetic effort,” Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle said. “For once, our power play clicked (Lewiston went 3-for-6), and we didn’t play well five-on-five; we didn’t play well defensively. Our defensemen were missing their assignments all night. Our forwards weren’t back checking.”

On the other end, Montreal coach Pascal Vincent wasn’t exactly pleased with his squad’s effort, either.

“It’s not a game you want to see, as a coach,” Vincent said. “Too many scoring chances, and getting away from our plan. We’re usually pretty sharp on our PK, and we usually do the little things well. (Tuesday). We got away from it.”

To drive his point home after the game was over, Houle waited for most of the people to leave the building, and brought the team, still in its game equipment, back out onto the ice — including the team’s third goalie and the scratches — and skated the players. Hard.

“We’re going to do this, to make the point, we’re going to go back into the locker room, and we’re going to forget all about the game,” Houle said.

Things started well for Lewiston, like it has in several recent games. The Maineiacs jumped out to a 3-1 lead early in the first on goals from Michal Hlinka, Matt Boyle and Sam Carrier. Three goals on four shots drove Montreal starter Jean-Francois Berube from the cage.

“Three goals in four shots, you have to be better than that,” Vincent said. “Seeing that, you know he’s not in the game.”

The Junior fought back to make it 3-2 at 15:35 of the first on a deflected goal that tipped off of Carrier’s stick and past Lewiston keeper Adrien Lemay.

Michael Chaput made it 4-2 just 33 seconds into the second, Matthew Brenton added another for Montreal at 3:35, and Jess Tanguy notched his 12th of the year at 5:41 to again put Lewiston on top by a pair.

But David Rose finished a pass down low to make it 5-4, and Montreal evened things up at 5-5 for the first tie since it was 0-0 to start the game at 15:33 of the middle frame.

“We were looking for a fast start in the third,” Vincent said. “We started to play better as the game went on, a little bit.”

The Junior got that quick start from Chouinard, who scored four of his five goals in the final frame. He scored at the 21-second mark to give his team its first lead.

After Sam Finn again knotted the score, Chouinard took over, netting a pair against Lemay and another into an empty net with 59 seconds left on the clock to run the score to 9-6.

Oskar Orrpars roofed the puck over backup goalie Etienne Marcoux for the Maineiacs’ final goal of the night at 19:31.

“We move on,” Houle said. “We have a big weekend coming up. We need to put this out of our minds and move on.”

Lewiston plays a three-games-in-three-nights string beginning Friday in Rimouski. The Maineiacs play Saturday in Quebec City, and Sunday in Victoriaville.


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