LEWISTON – Another night, another win for Team Blue.

Marc-Andre Cliche returned to action Tuesday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee for the first time since March and scored two goals, one each against Peter Delmas and Mike Muir, to lead his half of the Lewiston Maineiacs to a 7-2 victory over their counterparts in white.

Eric Castonguay scored another two goals Tuesday to bring his total to four for the first two days of camp.

“Practices are one thing, but the games are another,” said Maineiacs’ head coach and general manager Clem Jodoin. “There is a different kind of intensity in the games.”

Travis Fullerton, last year’s backup netminder, saw his first action of the week, stopping all but one shot in the first 30 minutes for Team Blue. The only shot he missed was a penalty shot by 20-year-old newcomer Chris Cote.

Marc-Andre Sauve tended goal the rest of the way for the blue sweaters, allowing a nifty goal from veteran Stefano Giliati in the third period.

Delmas held the fort early at the other end, allowing two goals in 30 minutes, one each to Cliche and Castonguay, while Muir allowed the remaining five blue goals.

Other roster changes Tuesday night saw skaters Kevin Marshall, Pierre-Luc Faubert, Sebastien Piche, Jakub Bundil and goaltender Marc-Andre Perron sit, while Michael Ward, Marc-Andre Crete, Marc-Andre Daneau, Sauve, Fullerton and Cliche all saw their first action.

The teams will square off one more time tonight, and then will split up Friday and Saturday to face Saint John. One group will travel to New Brunswick on Friday, while one group will stay home to face the Sea Dogs. On Saturday, the teams will swap places.

Home, sweet home

There was concern when the Maineiacs first moved to town from Sherbrooke that the players would be uncomfortable, that some of them would have a hard time adjusting to American culture, and that they would resent the travel and the distance from home.

Judging by the number of alumni who continue to return to the area, that question seems to have been answered in a positive manner.

“It’s a fun ride to come down here,” said former Maineiacs’ center Maxime Robert. “I didn’t know that (Mathieu) Aubin was here, that (Jonathan) Paiement was here, though. I knew (Marc-Andre) Cliche would be, and I played with him, but the older guys, I didn’t know. That’s fun.”

Cliche had no choice. Though he played with the rest of that group, he is still 19.

Aubin, though, has signed a contract to play for the Montreal Canadiens’ organization. Paiement recently signed with the Boston Bruins and is too old to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Last year, Maineiacs’ sniper Alexandre Picard returned to camp for a few days despite having signed on to play with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I think it’s a plus,” said Jodoin. “I like it. They can help out with the practices, they can help out with the rookies.”

But aside from the benefit to the current crop of players, the Maineiacs’ alumni still feel connected to the community, keeping in touch with many fans and former billet families.

“It’s been nice here,” said Robert. “I had fun here in Lewiston, I enjoyed it a lot, and it’s great to come back and see how everything is changed. The rink looks nice, the front office is nice, the team, everything around the team looks good.”

First casualties

Four players headed back home Tuesday, the first players to leave camp.

Nick Broadwater and Cam Robichaud, both Maine-based players, left camp to protect their eligibility under NCAA guidelines, keeping open the possibility that they could play Division I hockey. Robichaud is 18 under league rules, while Broadwater, drafted by the Maineiacs in the 15th round this season, is 17.

Victor Heselton, who made a last-minute decision to come to camp because of an early-summer injury to his ankle, left Tuesday after aggravating the injury. He might have left anyway, also to protect eligibility.

Jean-Philippe Samson was the fourth player to leave Tuesday. No specific reason was given for his decision.

The departures mean 49 players remain in camp. Jodoin said Tuesday he expects to cut the team to between 30 and 35 players by next week when the team goes on its first extended road trip of the preseason.


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