Sparked by a Sam Finn fight and initiated by an Etienne Brodeur shorthanded goal — his eighth shortie and 40th overall this season — the Maineiacs clawed back from a three-goal deficit to defeat Rimouski 5-4 in front of 2,254 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in the first game of a four-game homestand.

“I thought we showed a lot of character, coming back like that,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said. “Finn showed a lot of leadership. He decided to change the game by going in and sticking his nose into the play.”

The win is the team’s second in as many games against the Oceanic this week. The teams played Sunday in Rimouski, with Lewiston earning a 3-1 victory. Rimouski also played Wednesday in Quebec. There, the Oceanic also held a 4-1 lead, only to drop that contest by a final of 5-4.

Rimouski coach and former Lewiston bench boss Clem Jodoin commented only briefly following Friday’s game, and addressed only the game’s officiating crew.

“You can print what you want,” Jodoin said. “That was terrible.”

And it was a penalty — a series of them — that helped spark a struggling Lewiston squad. With a skirmish unfolding in the Rimouski crease and Lewiston trailing 4-1, Finn crashed the party from the left point, eventually throwing down with Rimouski blueliner Alex MacDonald, a fight he handily won.

On an ensuing Rimouski power play, Etienne Brodeur caught an Oceanic defender napping, swiped the puck and poked it past Rimouski keeper Carl Hozjan to cut the Maineiacs’ deficit to 4-2.

“I’m not a fighter who will fight for no reason, but I thought that was a good time,” Finn said. “We were losing by three goals, and we needed a spark and I was looking for a fight out there.”

With less than five minutes to play in the period, officials sent Finn to the locker room. But he certainly heard the end result of his momentum-shifting battle.

“I was in the locker room and I could hear everyone go crazy,” Finn said. “I knew we’d scored. I was very happy.”

Between periods, Houle said to assistant coach Darren Rumble that he thought if Lewiston could manage the next goal, the Maineiacs would win the game.

True to Houle’s word, the Maineiacs lit the lamp just 2:21 into the final frame when Stefan Fournier caught Hozjan napping and snuck it through his legs at the left post on the forecheck. Michael Chaput then sent the crowd into a frenzy with a 100-plus foot rush through nine players, capped by a deke to the forehand that beat Hozjan to tie the score.

“I couldn’t go straight, there were like two or three guys right there,” Chaput said. “I went to the right, and then (Stefan) Fournier cut in behind me, made the defensemen criss-cross and I had a lane right to the goalie … I guess he thought I was going to go backhand, because he didn’t try to poke check or anything, so I moved it to my forehand.”

Matthew Bissonnette rode the wave of momentum, sneaking behind the defense on an ensuing Maineiacs power play. He caught a stretch pass from Sam Carrier and went in alone on the Rimouski keeper, beating him low on the backhand.

“He yelled at me and I saw him, but then I saw the puck hit the stick of the guy in front of him,” Carrier said. “I was hoping it would make it through.”

Alexandre Mallet converted a gift into the Oceanic’s first goal of the contest Friday.

Taking advantage of a horrendous turnover by Lewiston defenseman Dillon Fournier 15 feet from the cage, Gleason Fournier curled to the left point and fired a shot toward the net. Mallet knocked the shot down, and flipped a backhander over Lewiston goalie Nick Champion’s shoulder to put the visitors on top.

Champion single-handedly kept the score at 1-0 with three consecutive spectacular saves, all to his left, baffling the Rimouski forwards who thought they had at the very least two more goals.

“I thought he made some really good saves there to keep the game close,” Houle said.

The Maineiacs got the goal back late in the first on a Jess Tanguy tally, his 19th of the year.

A pair of quick goals early in the second swung the game in favor of Rimouski.

Felix Lefrancois gave the Oceanic their lead back 3:53 into the period, poking home a puck in the crease after Champion thought he’d covered it as he sprawled on his back.

Alex Emond added a nearly identical goal from the right post to add to the Rimouski lead just 2:17 later, putting the visitors ahead 3-1.

The Oceanic grew their lead to 4-1 on a shorthanded bid from Petr Straka on a feed from Lefrancois at 16:42.


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