LEWISTON – Mention the Halifax Mooseheads to most Lewiston Maineiacs’ fans and invariably the reaction will be a roll of the eyes, or a subtle sigh, maybe even a glimmer of fear.

You can hardly blame them.

The last time Lewiston supporters saw the Mooseheads, the visiting Herd were skating away from the Androscoggin Bank Colisee with a 6-5 win in Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs.

This year, with decidedly different makeups, the teams met for the first time on Nov. 2. The Maineiacs, like in most of the six playoff games last season, played well enough to win the game.

But they lost, 3-1.

The Maineiacs haven’t lost since, including a rematch with Halifax three days later at the tail end of a six-game, nine-day road trip.

Lewiston is looking for its sixth straight win when the Maineiacs face the Mooseheads tonight at the Colisee at 7 p.m. The two teams also square off Friday evening.

The Mooseheads ran into a Victoriaville Tigres team Tuesday night that had lost just two home games all season. The Tigres stomped Halifax – and stalwart netminder Jeremy Duchesne – in a 7-4 win. Duchesne allowed all seven goals on 36 shots in just 45:49.

Still, Duchesne has performed well against Lewiston overall. He won all four of the games for Halifax in the playoffs last season, and in regular-season play, Duchesne is 4-3 with a 3.29 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.

“He’s a good goalie, but I think they lost a little bit of experience in the back,” said Maineiacs’ assistant coach Jeff Guay. “Duchesne can definitely steal games, though.”

Halifax is led by the leading rookie in the league, Jakub Voracek, who has 34 points in 24 games this season, including a goal and two assists against Lewiston in two games. Ryan Hillier, Anaheim Ducks’ draft pick Bryce Swan and Colby Pridham have been solid for the Mooseheads.

“They have some good guys up front,” said Guay. “Voracek, he’s had a good start, and you have to contain him, put a body on him and recognize when he’s out on the ice.”

Lewiston enters the matchup on a five-game winning streak. It’s the longest since a seven-game streak in January of 2005. The Maineiacs’ top line of Marc-Andre Cliche, Eric Castonguay and Pierre-Luc Faubert leads the way with 77 points on the season, and has racked up 22 points during the five-game streak.

The newly-formed line of Chris Tutalo, David Perron and Simon Courcelles scored 18 points in that same stretch.

Giliati suspended

Lewiston will be without Stefano Giliati for the two games against Halifax after the speedy forward was suspended two games this week for his hit-from-behind on PEI defenseman Pierre-Luc Lessard.

Giliati was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit, which happened in the corner of the rink nearest the Maineiacs’ locker room with both players chasing after a loose puck from center ice.

According the the coaching staff, Jakub Bundil, who played arguably his best game of the year last Saturday against PEI, will fill in for Giliati on the line with Stefan Chaput and Marc-Andre Daneau.

New territory

For the first time in history, the Lewiston Maineiacs have cracked the Canadian Hockey League’s Mosaic Mastercard Top-10 Rankings.

The Maineiacs (15-5-0-2) leapfrogged Cape Breton (No. 9) and Gatineau (No. 10) to finish the week ranked eighth overall in the CHL.

The Everett Silvertips (16-1-0-1) of the Western Hockey League snagged the No. 1 spot from the Vancouver Giants this week, the eighth week of the poll. Vancouver (18-2-1-1), which had been at the top since Week 2, slid to No. 2 while the London Knights (14-3-1-1) of the Ontario Hockey League moved to No. 3.

The poll is conducted weekly by the CHL and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Still missing

Triston Manson will continue to sit out as he battles back from a concussion he suffered against Halifax in the teams’ last meeting.

In that game, Manson fought Kirk Forrest, and as the two were finished, Forrest wrestled Manson to the ice. The Maineiacs’ enforcer slammed head-first onto the frozen surface and hasn’t played in a game since.

Maineiacs coaches said Wednesday that Manson still felt some effects of the collision, and would not skate until he was symptom-free.

Finally!

Michal Korenko can finally peel the monkey off of his back.

The Maineiacs’ third-year defenseman had a breakout weekend against PEI last weekend, registering an assist Friday night. He followed up on Saturday night with a goal and a helper. Korenko was also a plus-3 and had 10 shots on goal in the two wins.

“It was about time,” Korenko said. “It feels good to finally score.”

Break time

Following Saturday’s win, the Maineiacs were told not to show their faces at the Colisee for two days.

Period.

Many players, mostly from the Province of Quebec, took advantage of the time off and went home, visiting with family members who had taken the Remembrance Day weekend off.

Three of the players – Chad Denny, Bundil and Korenko – went to watch the New England Patriots play against the Jets.

“It was raining at first, but it was fine after that,” said Bundil. “It was cold, though.”

Korenko said he might not want to go to the games anymore, but not because he didn’t enjoy them.

“I went to two this year,” said Korenko. “I went to watch Denver and the Jets, and the Patriots lost both games.”


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