So much for the advantage teams normally enjoy by scoring first, and so much for the Lewiston Maineiacs’ stellar record when leading after two periods.
Despite netting the first goal of the contest and a two-goal lead late in the second period, the Maineiacs couldn’t hold on Saturday. Nick Champion surrendered three goals in the first five minutes of the third period as Acadie-Bathurst came from behind to defeat the Maineiacs 6-3 in front of 1,430 at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre.
“I thought they played real well in the third, and our legs weren’t there,” Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle said. “We got outplayed today, I thought they played better than we did. Even though we had the lead, we let it slip tonight.”
The Maineiacs began the day with a 17-2-0-0 record when leading after one period, and a 16-1-2-1 mark when leading after two. But the Titan conquered the odds, beginning their comeback with a goal 24 seconds after the Maineiacs had taken a 3-1 lead on a shorthanded goal from Sam Carrier late in the second.
With all of the momentum coming out of the second intermission, Yoan Pinette scored his second of the contest 2:48 into the third on a bank shot to even the score at 3-3. Former Lewiston skater Sebastien Trudeau gave Bathurst its first lead of the night at 4:15 on a feed from Gabriel Levesque, and David Gilbert tipped an Olivier Hotte shot past Champion 39 seconds later to open up a two-goal Titan advantage.
“The tying goal was pretty deflating, and they scored right again to make it 4-3,” Houle said. “Whenever you score three goals that quick, it’s pretty tough for a team to take.”
Gilbert added his second of the game into an empty net in the final minute of play to ice the game.
Things started well for the Mainieacs, who held the Titan to just seven shots on goal in the opening frame and took a 1-0 lead into the first break thanks to captain Cameron Critchlow’s 11th goal of the season just 4:48 into the contest.
Etienne Brodeur added his league-leading 39th of the season on a shorthanded opportunity 1:51 into the second to put Lewiston on top by a pair.
Pinette’s first of the game, at 10:13 of the second, cut the Maineiacs’ lead in half, but Carrier’s shorthanded bid at 18:10 briefly reestablished his team’s two-goal advantage, only to have it sliced away again by Gabriel Levesque on the power play.
“We pride ourselves on not getting scored on the shift after we score a goal,” Houle said. “Although they were still on the power play, they scored right after we scored. That’s something that can’t happen. Whoever is next on the ice has to be ready.”
The Maineiacs have little time to rest. They’ll play a second game in less than 24 hours Sunday in Rimouski, a 4 p.m. faceoff against the Oceanic at Colisee de Rimouski.
“We’ve got to move our feet a little more and we have to play as a team,” Houle said.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.