The only thing missing was the finish.

Faced with a four-goal deficit with 16:32 to play in regulation, the Lewiston Maineiacs started to feel it. Bryce Milson found the back of the net at 8:54 of the third, Etienne Brodeur netted his third of the game and sixth in the past two games to pull the Maineiacs within a pair, and Antoine Houde-Caron poked the puck over the line after an odd bounce on a dump-and-chase play with 3:06 remaining.

Despite another pair of strong pushes, and a shot after which the puck danced in the Victoriaville crease behind keeper David Honzik for a few seconds, the Maineiacs fell short.

Philippe Danault buried his chance into an empty net with six seconds to play to seal for Victoriaville a 7-5 win over the visiting Maineiacs at Colisee Desjardins on Saturday afternoon.

“I don’t know what it was, it was one of those games we really had no energy,” Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle said.

Brodeur, who picked up a point here and a point there in his first few games back after Christmas, caught fire Thursday and hasn’t let up. After a hat trick against Halifax on Thursday, the speedy sniper collected another Saturday, running his season total to 38.

“He’s more around the net, he’s finding a way to get there and the puck is finding him,” Houle said.

The intensity the Maineiacs displayed in attempting to come from behind, Houle said, was missing in the opening stages of the game.

“Victoriaville pounced on us early,” Houle said. “They came at us, and it looked like the team wasn’t ready right away.”

Brandon Hynes, playing with new linemates for Victoriaville since the Tigres traded the QMJHL’s leading scorer, Philip-Michael Devos, to Gatineau, didn’t take long to remind the Maineiacs he’s still very much with Victoriaville, banging the puck past starter Nicholas Champion just 1:09 into the contest to put the host team on top by one.

Later in the first, the Tigres went on top by two thanks to Guillaume Goulet’s 20th tally of the campaign.

The Maineiacs battled back on the power play as Olivier Dame-Malka let a slapshot fly on a feed from Kirill Kabanov that was then tipped in front by Brodeur, cutting the Tigres’ lead in half at 18:17 of the opening frame.

Victoriaville opened up the offense in the middle part of the second, as Philippe Maillet and Benjamin Laliberte scored 32 second apart, driving Champion from the cage.

“I don’t know if there was anything wrong, really, but we needed to try and change the momentum of the game,” Houle said.

Andrey Makarov initially didn’t fare much better, allowing the Tigres’ fifth goal after a rut in the ice claimed a Lewiston skater and sent Victoriaville in on a 2-on-1, on which it scored.

Brodeur added another — his second of the game and 37th of the season — just nine seconds later to cut the Tigres lead to three.

The Tigres reestablished their four-goal lead early in the third period before the Maineiacs began their charge.

The same two teams square off again Sunday afternoon in Victoriaville.


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