LEWISTON — There’s no doubt the Lewiston Maineiacs are a good skating team.

If the Quebec Remparts have proven anything this season — and they backed it up again Friday — it’s that they can skate just a little bit more quickly, and score a little bit more often, particularly on the power play.

Playing a near-perfect road game, the Remparts scored twice in the first, twice in the second and another three times in the final frame and limited the Maineiacs to just one goal on mostly shots from the outside, taking home a 7-1 victory in a critical divisional matchup at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Friday.

“The first five minutes, we were so-so, but after that, I thought we played a strong game,” Quebec coach Patrick Roy said. “We had good jump tonight, and I was very happy the way the guys played tonight … we were sharp around the net, we played well defensively, we were driving the net well, the quality of our shots were there.”

In the Maineiacs’ locker room, an unfamiliar silence spoke volumes.

“I think we got outplayed, outworked, out-competed and it’s the first time this year that we’re really disappointed in this team’s effort,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said. “It was a real letdown. We didn’t work. You need to work if you want to win. It doesn’t matter who you play.”

The loss is the second in a row for Lewiston, which had won 11 of 13 prior to Tuesday’s 5-3 loss in Montreal.

“(Our speed) didn’t matter, because we didn’t work,” Houle said. “They played well, too. They got pucks behind our ‘D’ and they went and got it. They were first on puck all game and they won the battles along the boards. If you don’t compete, and you don’t win battles, you won’t win.”

The Remparts executed a near-perfect first period and took a 2-0 advantage into the first intermission.

After both teams raced up and down the ice with no results in the first five minutes, Quebec’s speed started to shine through. But it was an odd bounce that landed the visitors on the scoreboard first. As Joel Champagne tried to wrap the puck around from left to right, it popped loose and squirted back to the left. Nick Champion followed Champagne, while Jonathan Audy-Marchessault grabbed the loose puck at the left post and stuffed it home behind the confused Maineiacs’ netminder.

What the first tally lacked in beauty, the second made up for in spades. Capitalizing on a Lewiston turnover in its defensive zone, Vincent Montreuil was ‘toe’ to Frederick Roy and Mirko Hoefflin’s ‘tic’ and ‘tac,’ finishing with a diving tip into an empty cage for a 2-0 Quebec advantage at 13:51.

It was more of the same in the second, with the Remparts and Maineiacs playing evenly early. Quebec again ramped up the intensity through the middle part of the frame, and collected another pair of goals to double its lead.

Frederick Roy tipped a point shot past Champion at 11:37 on a Remparts power play for the third Quebec score, and 1:12 later Olivier Hinse redirected a pass from Champagne from the right boards off a Maineiacs’ defenseman’s skate and into the cage to run the total to 4-0.

“That’s where they took the momentum back,” Houle said.

Lewiston tried to wrestle back control of the game in the third, as Etienne Brodeur notched his 43rd goal of the season on a rush up the right side while killing a penalty, eliminating Louis Domingue’s chance at a shutout.

“Once we got that goal, I thought we knocked on the door a few times, but we weren’t able to get that second goal, and they took over again,” Houle said. “We had the momentum for about three minutes in the whole game.”

The win gives Quebec a nine-point cushion in the Telus East division and a stranglehold on a top-three seed in the QMJHL playoffs with fewer than 15 games remaining.

“It was an important game,” Roy said. “We talked about it beforehand. We were seven points ahead of them, and it’s an important road trip. We didn’t want to see them catch up to us, and if they catch us (Saturday), it will still be seven points.”

The same two teams square off again Saturday at the Colisee at 7 p.m.


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