VERDUN, Quebec — With fresher legs than some of his teammates, Dylan Anderson was at his most dangerous when it mattered.

A role-player who scored just 11 goals in 66 games during the regular season, Anderson swooped into the low slot and fired the puck past Lewiston Maineiacs goalie Nick Champion on a rebound 1:37 into the second overtime, lifting the Montreal Junior to a 5-4 win in Game 5 of the teams’ best-of-seven, second-round playoff series and forcing a Game 6 back in Lewiston on Sunday night.

“When I shortened the bench, he was playing on a regular basis,” Montreal coach Pascal Vincent said. “I have faith in him. He’s a smart, two-way player. His cardio is excellent. They all are. Physically, the guys are in good shape. And we played with some desperation, with urgency, something we hadn’t seen so far.”

Nicolas Chouinard and Trevor Parkes had the helpers on the Anderson goal.

Now, the series will shift to Lewiston. The pressure, Vincent insists, has shifted even further toward Lewiston.

“For us, this was Game 7,” Vincent said. “I know maybe Lewiston didn’t feel the pressure (Friday), but they have to feel the pressure now. I am a hundred percent sure they don’t want to come back here for Tuesday’s game. Next game may be number six stats-wise, but for them, it’s Game 7, just like it is for us.”

For the second consecutive Friday in the series, the teams couldn’t decide things in regulation. And this time, one overtime period wasn’t good enough, either. Friday’s game was the Maineiacs’ longest game in franchise history.

“It’s overtime, and anything can happen in overtime,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said. “I thought they played pretty good tonight, probably the best they played all series. They were moving their feet well, skating well.”

Both teams had a pair of dandy chances in the first overtime session to score. Junior forward Louis-Marc Aubry, already with three goals on the night, found the puck on his stick after a blind, behind-the-back clear attempt by Lewiston forward Antoine Houde-Caron sailed into the low slot. Alone against Lewiston keeper Champion, Aubry fired wide.

On the other end, Montreal keeper held strong against several chances by Kirill Kabanov, Etienne Brodeur and Michael Chaput, even deflecting one out of play with the butt end of his stick.

A wild third period capped a roller-coaster three periods of regulation to send the teams into the extra session.

Faced with a 3-2 deficit, the Maineiacs again showed strength in the third period. Chaput ripped a wrister glove-side high on Berube after a slick drop pass from Kabanov to even the game at three.

The Junior thought for sure they’d extended the series at 14:19 of the third when Aubry potted his third of the game to complete the hat trick, putting the home team in front by a goal and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

But just like in Game 1, the Maineiacs replied late. Olivier Dame-Malka, whose lethal slap shot has appeared to get better as the playoffs have progressed, took a faceoff win by Chaput advanced a few strides and blasted the puck low blocker past Berube with 1:15 to play in regulation.

“We’re a pretty resilient team,” Houle said. “We were down one goal and we came back again to tie it up. I like the way we keep coming back.”

“There was no way that game should have gone into overtime, no way,” Vincent said. “Five-on-five, we played a solid game. Just the first period, we were a little too excited, but if there’s some fairness in this world, we deserved it.”

In the opening frame, after a pair of unsuccessful tries on the power play, the Maineiacs struck first for the second consecutive game on their third opportunity. Chaput worked the left half wall after a feed from Sam Carrier. He faked the pass to the middle slot and slid the puck to Kabanov at the left post. Kabanov pirouetted to his forehand and lofted a shot delicately into the top right corner of the cage over Berube’s glove.

The Junior struck back 1:30 later when Parkes swept the puck past Champion on a delayed penalty call to Lewiston, using a bevy of bodies in front as a screen to beat the Maineiacs’ keeper.

The Maineiacs’ power play struck again, this time on a 5-on-3, at 13:07, when Olivier Dame-Malka let another one rip from his favorite spot, just inside the blue line at the right point, on a feed from Chaput.

The penalty tide turned in favor of the Junior at the tail end of the first, but the Maineiacs had the best chance on Montreal first man advantage. The Junior managed only one shot on goal on that power play, and only two for the period, having scored on the first.

With a chance to close out a second-round playoff series for only the second time in franchise history, and a one-goal lead after a defensively dominant first period, the Lewiston Maineiacs started to feel it.

The pucks didn’t go as deep on the dump-ins. Clearing the zone became a chore. Passes that for three games had been crisp and precise, were off-target and ill-timed.

“We didn’t win races; we didn’t win puck battles,” Houle said. “That’s the only period. The other periods were fine.”

On the other end, playing with a desperation that was completely missing in the first frame, Montreal popped another past Champion on a rebound in front. Aubry potted the second equalizer for the Junior on a Louis Leblanc point shot 1:36 into the second.

Aubry’s second of the game — a point shot that deflected off Lewiston captain Cameron Critchlow’s skate in the slot — beat Champion 5-hole and gave the Junior a 3-2 lead, their first of the contest, at 12:47 of the second.

Neither of Aubry’s goals were completely clean, but the Junior put more traffic in front of Lewiston keeper Nick Champion than the team faced on its rush hour drive from the hotel to the rink Friday, and that made all the difference.

Tickets for Game 6 will be on sale at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee all day Saturday.


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