LEWISTON – The bumps, bruises, gashes and stitches appeared after Game 1.

More of the same following Game 2.

David Perron’s nose, Simon Courcelles’ chin, countless ankles and shins, all battered and banged up.

And while people observing the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league felt that the first-round playoff matchup between the Lewiston Maineiacs and Shawinigan Cataractes should be an easy one, the players themselves had no such delusions.

“We knew this coming in, how physical this was going to be,” Maineiacs’ forward and assistant captain Simon Courcelles said. “They’re a tough, physical team. It’s the playoffs, and we expected a battle, and they’re giving it to us.”

Nor did the coaches.

“Who was in first place at the beginning of the year?” Maineiacs’ skipper Clem Jodoin asked, begging the obvious answer. “They were, for more than a month. They’re not a bad team. They had injuries and they made a couple of trades to get younger for the future, but they still have a good team.”

And, as any good coach will do, Shawinigan bench boss Eric Veilleux has given his team every reason to embrace its role as the underdog, and to take out that frustration on the ice.

“It could be even more physical,” Veilleux said. “That’s our style, how we’ve played all year.”

To counter that, Jodoin is preaching a mix of speed and discipline, though at times that has been tough in the first two games.

“We have to be focused, stay disciplined,” Jodoin said. “We have speed, we need to use our speed, and not worry about retaliation.”

Despite his warnings, Jodoin’s players have at times found it difficult to stay away from confrontations, often gathering in clusters beside the nets after plays have been whistled dead.

In two games, the Maineiacs have taken 19 penalties, while Shawinigan, despite its physical play, has drawn just 18.

The difference, though, has been the teams’ play on special teams. Lewiston is clicking at 33.3 percent on the power play (4-for-12), and have held Shawinigan to just two goals on 13 chances on the penalty kill.

“Our power play was very good, around 30 percent, the last seven games of the season, too,” Jodoin said. “This is big in the playoffs.”

The teams will resume the series Tuesday night in Shawinigan at the Jacques Plante Arena.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.