LEWISTON – Now that the Lewiston Maineiacs are, technically, champions, Head Coach and General Manager Clem Jodoin expects them to play like it, even though the team’s final three games seem meaningless.

“We cannot afford to develop bad habits,” Jodoin said Monday. “We have to play like the champions we are.”

The Maineiacs begin a three-game, season-ending road trip tonight in Moncton against the Wildcats, who are 5-2 against Lewiston this season.

“They still work hard, and they will remember their last game here,” Jodoin said, referring to a 6-0 Lewiston win last Wednesday.

“We have to have intensity like they will have.”

As proof of his team’s commitment, Jodoin pointed to the ice at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“This should have been a day off,” Jodoin said, “but we held a practice anyway. We went back to work.”

Moncton and the Lewiston’s other opponent, the PEI Rocket, are locked in a battle for third place in the Eastern Division, and Jodoin expects both teams to present a challenge as they jockey for position.

“Moncton has to win its game to stay in third,” Jodoin said.

“For us, we can’t go there and just play because we have to play. It’s part of the playoff spirit. We have to play to win the game every time.”

Jodoin and his staff will likely welcome back some missing bodies this week, too. Stefan Chaput appears ready to go this weekend, and was on the ice in just skates, shorts and a T-shirt Monday.

Also, goaltender Jonathan Bernier will likely see his first game action since Jan. 25 on Friday in Charlottetown.

This will add to the depth about which Jodoin continues to speak.

“We have a lot of guys now with 20 goals this year,” Jodoin said. “That shows our depth. I’m going to use everybody in every situation, give some players a chance on the power play and PK, but I still expect them to play well and be intense.”

The Maineiacs currently have seven players with 20 or more goals, and two more – Chaput and Simon Courcelles – who are close.

Lewiston is coming off of a win over PEI, which clinched the Jean Rougeau Trophy for being the league’s regular-season champion. The Rocket, though, were on the tail end of a three-games-in-three-nights road trip, and were missing two key players due to injury. The Maineiacs are expecting a different team all together this weekend.

“They’re a good team, they’ve played well since the beginning of the (calendar) year,” Jodoin said. “Everybody is fighting for something still.”

Lewiston’s games tonight and Friday start at 6 p.m., and its season finale against PEI on Sunday starts at 3 p.m.

Denny honored by CHL

One day after being named the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Offensive Player of the Week, Lewiston Maineiacs’ defenseman Chad Denny has collected another honor, this time on a larger scale.

The Canadian Hockey League announced Tuesday that Denny is this week’s CHL Player of the Week.

Denny played in three games last week, connecting for three goals and assisting on six more for nine points in three Lewiston wins.

Last Wednesday, Denny had a goal and three assists as the Maineiacs thumped Moncton. On Friday, he added a pair of goals and two more helpers in a win over St. John’s, and in the team’s regular-season-championship-clinching win over PEI on Sunday, Denny had another assist and helped the defense in allowing just 12 shots on goal.

Bobby Ryan of the Owen Sound Attack was the Ontario Hockey League’s nominee after scoring three goals and six assists in two games, and Ty Wishart of the Prince George Cougars was the Western Hockey League nominee after scoring one goal and six assists in three games.

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