Luck was not on the Lewiston MAINEiacs’ side on Thursday night, as they took on the Moncton Wildcats. Moncton’s Allain Saulnier took advantage of a pair of fortunate bounces, as his two goals helped the Wildcats to a 4-3 win over the MAINEiacs in front of 4,369 fans at the Moncton Coliseum.
The Wildcats started the scoring early in the first period, as a defensive zone turnover cost Lewiston. Olivier Dame-Malka and Dillon Fournier were unable to start the rush at the side of the net. The puck was picked up by Alex Saulnier, who fed his brother Allain for the first goal of the contest. Just under six minutes later, Moncton extended the lead on a power play goal. The Wildcats used a lot of crisp passing, pinning the MAINEiacs deep in their zone. That allowed Alex MacDonald to sneak in from the point, firing home a one-timer from the middle of the slot.
Lewiston did get a goal back before the first intermission. Olivier Dame-Malka let a low slap shot go that was stopped by Owen. However, the shot produced a rebound which kicked out to Antoine Houde-Caron, and eventually Stefan Fournier, who ulitimately potted his tenth goal of the season.
In the second period, the Wildcats added to their lead, as Marek Hrivik scored a power play goal from the right side for a 3-1 advantage. However, the MAINEiacs had an answer, netting a pair of goals around the midway mark of the period. Pierre-Olivier Morin took a cross-ice feed from Sam Carrier, and blasted a shot through from the left circle, cutting the deficit to one with a power play tally. 26 seconds later, Sam Henley evened the score, knocking in a loose puck in the slot. Antoine Houde-Caron and Zach Shannon assisted on Henley’s seventh goal of the season.
Just before the period ended, Moncton regained the lead with an unfortunate goal for Lewiston. Marek Hrivik tried jamming the puck in from the right side, but was fended off by Nicholas Champion. However, the rebound kicked over to Allain Saulnier, who scored before Champion could get to the other side of his crease.
Neither team could find the twine in the third period, despite a 17-3 shots advantage for the MAINEiacs, as the Wildcats held on for the 4-3 win.
Shane Owen was terrific again for Moncton, earning the win with 40 saves on 43 shots. Nicholas Champion took the loss for Lewiston, allowing four goals on 20 shots.
The MAINEiacs will conclude their three-game road trip on Friday night, when they visit the Saint John Sea Dogs at 6:30. Lewiston will return home on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 to play host to the Montreal Junior.