LEWISTON — After a four-goal outburst in Game 2, Olivier Dame-Malka knew he was a marked man.

That also meant someone else on the ice would be open.

With the clock ticking down with fewer than 10 seconds to play in regulation, Dame-Malka unleashed a blast from the left point. The puck tipped off of the defender assigned to the hard-shooting defenseman, and off another body in front, right to Lewiston’s leading scorer, Etienne Brodeur. With the puck on edge, Brodeur in one motion settled it, located the open corner of the cage and lofted the puck toward it. It flew past Montreal keeper Jean-Francois Berube, but by then, Brodeur already knew it was in. He rushed back toward the Maineiacs’ bench and dove head first onto the ice in celebration, where he was mobbed by his teammates.

“When (Dame-Malka) got the puck, I looked at the scoreboard, and there was, like, nine seconds left,” Brodeur said. “I didn’t know if there was time, but the bounce, it came right to my tape. The puck was in the air because the ice was pretty bad. But I got it down and went top shelf. I knew I was alone, but how far alone, I didn’t know. I had to shoot quick.”

With 5.2 seconds remaining, Brodeur’s tally lifted the Maineiacs to a 2-1 win in Game 3 of the team’s best-of-seven, second-round playoff series against the Montreal Junior, also giving Lewiston a 2-1 series advantage, with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“They clogged the neutral zone pretty well and it was hard for us to generate speed,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said. “(Goalie Nick) Champion made some big saves to keep us in the game, and we were fortunate enough to get one at the end.”

At times, Montreal controlled the game, and certainly during the Junior’s five power play opportunities. But again, the Maineiacs’ penalty-killing units, and particularly Champion, were solid.

Champion stopped 28 of the 29 shots he saw, including more than his fair share from point-blank range and on the penalty kill.

The Junior, meanwhile, didn’t appear rattled following the loss, despite being the odds-on favorite to win the series from the beginning and now trailing 2-1.

“I felt it was a great game, but I felt we missed the net too often,” Montreal coach Pascal Vincent said. “We gave them four shots in the first, three in the third, and it’s a tough break for us. I think we can create more offense, for sure.”

The key, Vincent said: Keep shooting.

“Champion is doing a good job right now,” Vincent said. “But he was in our division last year, we know his history. That may not last, the way he responded in the past … I think Champion has played two great games the last two. We know the history there, and we feel confident if we stick to the plan, it’s going to go in.”

The first period Tuesday was the first in the series without at least one goal scored between the two teams, and the first period other then overtime of the first game in which Lewiston did not net at least one.

Both goaltenders saved the day early, with Champion making the bigger of the saves as Montreal enjoyed two power plays in the opening frame to Lewiston’s one.

Champion was the story of the first half of the second period, too, coming up big on a pair of point-blank chances, most notably against Trevor Parkes from the low slot on a Montreal power play. Parkes thought he had the whole net open until Champion lunged and snared the puck with his trapper.

“I felt it hit my right pad, there was a bit of traffic on the first shot,” Champion said. “I had a good idea where it bounced, so I tried to slide over as fast as I could. It caught my eye at the last second.”

The teams appeared to be headed toward another scoreless frame in the second, but the Junior, like they’ve done in each game this series, struck first, snapping a goal-less drought of 66:53. Parkes converted on a rare turnover by the Sam Carrier-Sam Finn defensive pairing, taking the puck in from the left side at the Lewiston blue line and deking to his backhand before lofting the puck over Champion.

“If you give him space, he’s gonna make a move, that’s what he does, and he got me there,” Champion said.

That Montreal lead lasted all of 45 seconds. Carrier atoned for the misstep in a big way, sneaking into the low slot and burying a pass from Kirill Kabanov off the right post past Berube’s outstretched glove.

“That was a big goal,” Houle said. “We had a couple chances like that where our defense came in the slot. Dillon Fournier had a chance, so that was a big goal, just to tie it up.”

Lewiston nearly took the lead in the final second of the period on a power play chance when the puck squirted through Berube’s pads as the horn sounded. The puck was still teetering on the line when the green light behind the net went on to signal the end of the frame, and a Lewiston skater knocked it over the line afterward.

Lewiston also failed to capitalize on the tail end of that power play to begin the third, and the Maineiacs’ penalty kill did a superb job killing off a pair of Montreal power plays immediately thereafter.

“We need more of a shooting mentality on the power play right now,” Vincent said. “We need to be more productive on the power play. We’re looking pretty much for the perfect play, and we had success over the season bringing the pucks to the net and going after the rebounds. We’re going to make some adjustments for (Wednesday).”


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