LEWISTON, Maine — With snow once again flying outside the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday night, just about everything inside the rink was flying, too — pucks, goalies and, of course, fists.
Lewiston sandwiched a pair of goals 38 seconds apart around three fights in the middle part of the second period, four different Maineiacssquared off to fight, Cole Hawes registered a point in a sixth consecutive game and Andrey Makarov continued to frustrate the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles with a 25-save shutout effort as Lewiston skated off with a 6-0 victory.
The win is the Maineiacs’ fifth in a row, eighth in a row at home and 10th in their past 12 games. At 35-16-0-2, Lewiston is now one point back of Drummondville for the fourth overall position in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League standings, with a game in hand.
“Right now, there’s not many games left, and if you look at the standings, you can see every game is so important,” Lewiston coach J.F. Houle said. “That was a good team win tonight. We answered the bell. They tried to push us around and we’ve proven in a lot of games now that nobody is going to push us around.”
Hawes started the flurry of activity in the second period with his ninth goal of the season into an open net after Jess Tanguy’s shot handcuffed Cape Breton keeper Alexandre Veronneau. That marked a third consecutive game with at least a point for Hawes since returning from an upper-body injury, and sixth game in a row dating back to before his injury.
Eight seconds later, Lewiston’s Bryce Milson and Cape Breton’s Loic Leduc squared off, with Milson scoring the takedown. Another eight second elapsed before Ian Saab of the Maineiacs and Wes Herrett of the Screaming Eagles dropped the mitts, with Saab knocking Herrett to the ice, and on the ensuing faceoff, Jean-Kristoff Grenier of the Eagles traded blows with Lewiston’s Antoine Houde-Caron.
“We have a lot of 18-year-olds, and one thing the guys are showing me, we’re going to be one of the toughest teams in the league next year,” Cape Breton coach Mario Durocher said. “At least we know, everybody who’s going to come to our rink, and when we go on the road, we won’t be scared of anybody.”
Adding insult to injury, 21 seconds after the third fight, Lewiston extended its lead to 4-0 on Etienne Brodeur’s 41st goal of the season, again on a long rebound into a virtually empty net.
“I like that we scored right after the fights,” Houle said. “The guys who are supposed to score came up big and scored a goal and got the momentum really going for us.”
A fourth fight broke out two minutes later between Lewiston’s Christophe Lalonde and Cape Breton’s William Carrier, but the goals stopped, at least for the remainder of the second frame.
“When we start to play tough like that, with such a young team, we start to lose our concentration and we just want to run after everybody,” Durocher said. “Instead of just playing hockey, they want to run after everybody.”
In the third, Michael Chaput and Francis Beauvillier tacked on another each for the Maineiacs as they cruised to victory.
After a lackadaisical start to the opening period, Houde-Caron put the Maineiacs on the board first at 10:08, batting home a popped-up pass from Pierre-Olivier Morin in the left corner that hit a Cape Breton defender and went airborne.
With the teams skating 4-on-4, Kirill Kabanov netted his seventh of the season to push the Maineiacs’ lead to 2-0. On a faceoff win byFrancis Beauvillier, Sam Carrier fired a wrister through traffic in front. Kabanov got his stick on it and redirected it past Veronneau’s blocker.
Makarov was stellar late in the first and into the second, stopping several top-notch chances for Cape Breton, continuing his strong play of late. The win was his fourth in a row, and the shutout was his second of the campaign.
“We had a chance to get back into it on a 5-on-3, and he did a great job,” Durocher said.
“He was great tonight, he made some great saves, especially with the glove,” Houle said. “He saw the puck well, he’s confident and he’s playing really well right now. I’m happy for him. he had a rough start, but he’s really coming around.”
Copyright (c) 2011, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
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