One of the unheralded members of the Lewiston Maineiacs' defensive group had a breakout performance in Friday's season-opening win over the Rimouski Oceanic, showing why, despite missing a couple of top defensemen, the Maineiacs felt comfortable in Game 1.
Zachary Evans-Renaud, acquired last season from Cape Breton after being drafted and then released by Shawinigan, played in just 13 games for Lewiston during the regular season, and recorded two assists and was a minus-5.
Friday, he equaled last year's point total in one fell swoop, and was 10 points better with a plus-5.
And that was just in a single game.
"It wasn't too much on my part anything I really did," Evans-Renaud said modestly. "I was getting pucks in at the front end and getting pucks out (in the defensive zone)."
"Brodie (Etienne Brodeur) helped me out a little bit getting a couple of goals, so everything so far has just gone well," he added.
The entire Lewiston defensive corps began Friday night's game with an acute sense of the task at hand. Knowing how shorthanded Rimouski is, with eight players at professional camps, the strategy was simple: pound them early, take advantage late.
"We all knew they had a short bench, we needed to come out, play defensively and shut them down," Evans-Renaud said. "We knew we could probably wear them out in the first couple of periods and take it to them in the third."
One win down, Evans-Renaud said, and 67 more to go. At least the first one is out of the way.
"It's good to get the first win out of the way, takes the pressure off a little bit," he said.