LEWISTON, Maine – Halifax began the game like a house afire, like one might expect a team to begin coming off a seven-goal loss.
All it led to for the Mooseheads was another blowout, this one at the hands of the Lewiston Maineiacs.
Etienne Brodeur registered a hat trick to run his season total to 35 goals, Michael Chaput notched two goals for the third consecutive game, defenseman Zach Shannon tallied his first-ever QMJHL goal and Andrey Makarov stopped 30 shots as the Maineiacs rolled to a 9-3 victory over hapless Halifax on Thursday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“Any homestand, it’s important to win and play hard,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said. “You need to win your home games. I thought the team played well tonight, and we capitalized on our chances.”
Fifteen of the 18 Maineiacs skaters dressed Thursday registered at least one point.
The Mooseheads came into the game on the heels of a 9-2 loss to Saint John last weekend, and found no better result on the first game of a lengthy road swing that began in Lewiston.
“We have to play better, obviously,” Halifax coach Bobby Smith said. “We’re playing against high-end teams in our league, and if we’re not at our best, we’re going to pay for it.”
Brodeur had been sporadic in his goal-scoring of late, though he’d been busy enough to continue to run his total upward. Thursday, though, something clicked.
“The offense is really going good right now, we have something like 21 goals in the last three games,” Brodeur said. “I hope we can keep it going like that.”
Chaput, meanwhile, has been on fire, and showed no signs of slowing down. The speedy forward celebrated another pair of goals Thursday and now has 18 on the season, including six in the past three games.
“I guess, starting off the second half of the season, we start off fresh,” Chaput said. “It’s been good so far.”
Makarov, the team’s rookie backup who’s been limited this season due to injury, made his first start since Christmas, and played much more solidly that the final score might suggest he needed to play.
“It felt good, real good,” Makarov said, using countryman Kirill Kabanov as an interpreter. “I was able to get into the game right away, and I was working hard every shift.”
Kabanov, also had one of his better games of the season. He finished with a goal, two assists and a plus-four rating on the game playing alongside Chaput (five points) and Matthew Bissonnette (two assists).
“He had our hard-hat award tonight, I thought he went hard to the puck, he was relentless,” Houle said of Kabanov. “He scored a nice goal, he made some nice plays. If he plays like that, with that energy, he’s very effective.”
The first was a study in thirds. The Maineiacs did little in the opening portion of the period, and coasted through the final third to the end of the frame.
But in between, it was like someone had lit a match underneath the Lewiston bench.
“It took us about the first seven minutes to get going,” Houle said. “They had some pressure. We turned the puck over a couple of times. But after we got the first one, we got the momentum rolling.”
Rookie Christophe Lalonde celebrated his 17th birthday (which was Wednesday) in style with his second goal of the season on a great give-and-go with Alex Zafiris at 8:36 to open the scoring. Chaput added his 17th of the campaign 58 seconds later when he tipped in a shot from the point by Sam Carrier, and just 1:19 after that, Brodeur knocked home his 33rd of the year after a goalmouth scramble left the puck sitting in the blue paint behind Halifax keeper Anthony Terenzio.
The second began in similar fashion to the first, but the Mooseheads finally did capitalize on one of their chances. On the power play, Darcy Ashley fired his 15th of the season through a screen and past Makarov to cut the Lewiston lead to 3-1.
That lasted all of 12 seconds, as Chaput’s second of the night beat Terenzio on a tip-in on a feed from Kabanov.
“You can’t put yourself in a position like that,” Smith said. “Instead of giving yourself an opportunity to get within a goal, you let up another.”
Jonathan Parisien notched his first as a Maineiac on a wrister from the right point to put the home team in front 5-1, and after a fluky bounce pulled Halifax within three, Brodeur added his second of the night to reestablish the Maineiacs’ four-goal advantage.
The Maineiacs added another three in the third, with Kabanov, Shannon and Brodeur doing the honors.
Carl Gelinas netted his team-leading 18th for Halifax with less than two minutes remaining to cap the scoring.
“I rolled all four lines all night,” Houle said. “I think we’re tough to play against right now because there’s a threat to score on all four lines.”
The Maineiacs play their next four games on the road, beginning Saturday and Sunday with a two-game set in Victoriaville.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.