LEWISTON When it mattered, the veteran players in the Lewiston Maineiacs’ lineup behaved like veterans, and the star goaltender lived up to his billing.

Eleven different players, including seven who laced up their skates full time for the Maineiacs last season, registered at least a point and Andrey Makarov stopped all 16 shots he faced in the final half of the game as Lewiston came from behind to post a 5-2 preseason victory over the Victoriaville Tigres on Saturday.

Lewiston trailed Victoriaville 2-1 to begin the third. Sam Henley, Matthew Bissonette, Marc-Antoine Rousseau and Sam Carrier all scored in the final frame.

“We started a little slow, got outworked,” Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle said. “I don’t think we showed up for the first two periods, and that was our message to the players between the second and third. I said, ‘Hey guys, it’s our own building, let’s pick it up here,’ and I thought they did that in the third.”

Makarov, meanwhile, was solid for the second consecutive night, this time against another squad. Less than three days since flying in from Russia, the 17-year-old backstop stopped 16 of 16 shots in his competitive debut.

“He was excellent tonight, he battled,” Houle said. “He tries to get the second rebounds and he fights hard. He doesn’t give up. You like to see that in a goalie.”

Lewiston general manager Roger Shannon also kept a close eye on Makarov, and was equally impressed.

“He was outstanding,” Shannon said. “I talked to (Maineiacs’ minority owner) Wendell (Young), and he said technically, as with any 17-year-old, he’s got some work to do, but he saw the same thing. He stops pucks, and he finds ways and he’s a big body, which is an absolute requirement for goalies today. I think he knows how to stop pucks.”

Up front, Henley tied the game early in the third when he took a feed from behind the net by Etienne Brodeur slid to his forehand and slipped the puck past Victoriaville keeper Jean-Michel Fortier along the ice.

Bissonette put Lewiston in front 1:39 later, and Rousseau cleaned up after Brodeur missed on a breakaway to put the home team in front by two.

Carrier’s goal into an empty net with 14 seconds to play sealed the victory in the Maineiacs’ lone true home game of the preseason.

“I think it’s important that people see this is going to be a different year than last year,” forward Stefan Fournier said. “We’re a different team now. The organization has made some really good moves to bring in guys like (managing consultant) Bill Schurman, and (Shannon) has put together a great group of guys.”

Lewiston didn’t waste much time putting the smiles on the home fans’ faces. Bissonette fed Francis Beauvillier in front and the 17-year-old banged the puck home to put the Maineiacs ahead 1-0 at 4:20 of the opening frame.

The Tigres fought back, and just past the 10-minute mark evened things up on the power play. One of the few veterans in the Victoriaville lineup, Chris Doyle, sniped the top left corner of the cage over Jordan Kennedy’s right shoulder.

The teams battled back and forth the rest of the frame. Kennedy made a couple of snappy glove saves, and Fortier was equal to the task on the other end.

The only goal of the second frame was another power play marker for the visitors. This time, Carl-Antoine Delisle cleaned up a mess in front, slipping the puck through a pileup in front of Kennedy to put Victoriaville in front for the first time.

Kennedy gave way to Makarov halfway through the second. Kennedy finished his afternoon with 15 saves on 17 shots. Makarov finished his half a period with six saves on as many shots.

Things also got a bit chippy in the middle frame. The teams combined for 28 minutes in penalties, including a scrap between Pierre-Olivier Morin and Vincent Marcoux.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.