Apparently, the Lewiston Maineiacs are not morning folks.

Plagued by penalties through the first frame, the Maineiacs fell behind Montreal in a rare morning game by four goals — two coming on Junior power plays — and despite a furious comeback attempt late in the third period, Lewiston was never able to fully recover. Trevor Parkes scored twice and Xavier Ouellet and Matt Provost added another each in a seven-minute stretch of the opening frame as Montreal skated off with a 5-3 win over the Maineiacs in front of a 3,058-person crowd populated mostly by Montreal-area school children.

“We had a slow start, but I think they jumped on us, too,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said. “I have to give the guys credit, though, no one quit, and we came back hard and had a lot of good chances to tie it up at the end. Their goalie played great, and he made some huge saves for them.”

Lewiston had a few offensive chances sprinkled between all those goals against, with a few 2-on-1s and even a breakaway, but Montreal goaltender Jean-Francois Berube, a Los Angeles Kings draft pick, was equal to the task.

Parkes buried his first of the game at the tail end of what had been a 5-on-3 power play for the Junior. Less than a minute later, on another power play, the Junior tacked on another, this one off the stick of Ouellet. Provost and Parkes added even-strength goals later on in the frame to put the Junior in firm control of the contest.

Andrey Makarov drew the surprise start for Houle’s Maineiacs, but didn’t fare as well as he had in his previous handful of starts. In part aided by four consecutive penalties against Lewiston, Montreal crossed the midway point of the first period and let the pucks fly, beating Makarov four times on 19 shots. Twenty-year-old keeper Nick Champion replaces the rookie after one period.

“He made some good saves, too,” Houle said, “and I didn’t replace him because of poor play. I was just trying to change the momentum.”

Kirill Kabanov caught a break late in the second to break up Berube’s bid for a shutout, getting away with a shove as he broke free from a Montreal defender and advanced on the Junior keeper. He beat Berube with a shot after Pierre-Olivier Morin fired it in from the point to put the Maineiacs on the board and cut the Montreal advantage to 4-1.

“They were the better team in the first, but I think we beat them pretty well in the second and third,” Houle said.

Morin scored one of his own later in the third to make things interesting as he wristed a shot past Berube on the stick side with less than seven minutes to play in regulation, and Etienne Brodeur added his 42nd of the season with less than two minutes to play to pull the Maineiacs within one.

“I think the players know we can beat this team if we put together a full game,” Houle said. “We’ve played tough against this team all season, and every game we played was close.”

Nicolas Chouinard stuffed the Maineiacs’ comeback attempt with an empty-netter in the waning seconds for the Junior, who are still the only team in the league the Maineiacs have yet to defeat this season.

The Maineiacs return to the ice for a three-game home set beginning Friday and Saturday with a pair against Telus East-leading Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“We get two days of practice now, and we know the next games are big for us,” Houle said. “We’ll be ready.”


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