LEWISTON – The Lewiston Maineiacs’ two newest members will make their preseason debuts as the Maineiacs host the Moncton Wildcats in their sixth game in eight days tonight at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Triston Manson and Simon Courcelles, each acquired via trade last weekend, will suit up tonight and make their 2006 debut. While Courcelles has not seen some ice time early in camp with the Quebec Remparts, Manson had yet to skate, which is one reason he didn’t play on the team’s recent road trip.

“He wasn’t ready there,” said Maineiacs’ head coach Clem Jodoin. “He didn’t have a training camp anywhere, and he wasn’t ready to play in a game.”

Now, both Manson and Courcelles, it appears, are ready to go.

So, too, it appears, is the team. Playing games on five of six nights is never an easy chore, and the first two of those nights featured split-squad games. The Maineiacs won five and lost two.

“We’re expecting to see good things (tonight),” is all Jodoin would say about his expectations for tonight’s game, though he spent much of Thursday’s practice working corner and battling drills in front of the goaltenders. “We have to remember, too, we just played five games in six nights plus all the travel. That was tough, so we went a little lighter in practice (Thursday).”

Three skaters – Pierre-Luc Faubert, Patrick Cusack and Jonathan Paquet – are bothered by minor injuries and will play it safe by sitting out tonight’s action. The rest of the lineup, though, is subject to change, based on who the coaching staff feels needs a better look.

“Based on injuries or players being banged up, we try to play the kids,” said Jodoin. “We try to play the players who on the bubble, so they can show what they can do.”

Clarifying a rumor

Shortly following the Maineiacs acquisition Courcelles, who last year captained the Quebec Remparts to a Memorial Cup title, rumors started to surface regarding a potential case pending in Quebec involving Courcelles and a prior charge for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

That same day, Maineiacs’ backup goaltender Travis Fullerton was released from the team for the same charge in Lewiston.

According to a story published in “Le Soleil,” a newspaper in Quebec City on April 11, Courcelles drove his car into a snowbank on Jan. 16 of this year. When given a Breathalyzer test, the young forward blew a .16, the same as Fullerton last week.

Courcelles pleaded not guilty at that time, and his case, according the reporter who originally wrote the story, is still pending.

Courcelles said this week he could not comment on the charges or on anything related to the case.

Meanwhile, when Jodoin heard of the pending case – after the trade had already been signed – he was shocked.

“I didn’t know that it had happened,” said Jodoin. “The next day, when I found out, I called Patrick Roy and asked him why he didn’t tell me. I called the league, I called the team lawyers, I called everybody.”

According to Jodoin, Roy, the part owner and general manager in Quebec, hadn’t said anything, figuring Jodoin already knew. Because the case is still pending, there are no ramifications to Courcelles as far as crossing the border is concerned.

As for his relationship with Jodoin and with the Maineiacs, Jodoin was up front with his newest forward.

“I talked to him about what happened with Fullerton, and now he is not allowed to come into the United States,” said Jodoin. “I didn’t know about it before, but now, he knows the consequences here.”

Jodoin also took the opportunity Thursday to speak with all of his 20-year-olds.

“I told all of our 20-year-olds, I said, ‘Look, you’ve got to say thank you, you’ve got to appreciate the opportunity you have,” said Jodoin. “You have a chance to play in this league as a 20-year-old. There are a lot of kids who don’t have that chance. Don’t take anything for granted.”

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