When the team was in trouble, like so many times this season, the Lewiston Maineiacs turned to their most consistent performer this season to help them break out of a funk.

Etienne Brodeur, far and away the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s leading goal-scorer, added three more to his total with his third hat trick of the year — his 45th, 46th and 47th goals of the season — to lead the Maineiacs to a much-needed 4-3 win over the Rimouski Oceanic.

“We needed that,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said, exuding relief with every breath of his telephone interview Sunday. “It’s nice to get off the schneid.”

Brodeur was again clutch for the Maineiacs. The team’s leading point-getter, scorer and one of its top hitters, pushed and shoved his way to the front of the net, used his speed to get open and found the back of the cage behind Rimouski keeper Morgan Clark three times.

“The puck seems to find him,” Houle said. “He uses his speed, he gets open, he’s in the right position and he’s shooting a lot when he has the puck.”

Continuing a troubling trend, the Maineiacs again started slowly. Rimouski came out of the locker room with more jump, and took it to Lewiston to the tune of an 11-3 advantage in shots in the opening frame.

“I still think we had more shots than that, and maybe some of them got blocked or something,” Houle said. “But we were a little bit shakty in the first.”

Rimouski capitalized with three goals in the first, one each from Jarrad Struthers, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Patrick Delisle-Houde, and all at even-strength.

Lewiston countered with a pair, despite only three shots, on markers from Brodeur and Olivier Dame-Malka.

Brodeur evened things up at 3-3 only 2:43 into the second on the power play, and Lewiston found its legs. Brodeur added another on the power play at 14:37, and the Maineiacs’ patchwork defense, along with goalie Nick Champion, held down the fort from there.

“We had two penalty kills on 5-on-3s,” Houle said. “The PK guys, I can’t say enough about them, and Nick Champion made some great key saves in the second and third periods.”

Lewiston defenseman Sam Finn will miss an indefinite amoiunt of time with what the team is calling an upper-body injury, and Dillon Fournier missed most of Sunday’s contest after being struck in the face. Kirill Kabanov also missed the end of the game Sunday after falling ill.

Lewiston next plays a pair of games on the road — Thursday in Chicoutimi and Friday in Drummondville — before returning home for a Sunday matinee against Drummondville on Feb. 27 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.


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