LEWISTON – Two down, 14 to go, and it starts with a pair in Shawinigan.

The Lewiston Maineiacs are counting down the wins it will take to send the team to the Memorial Cup in Vancouver one at a time, similar to coach Clem Jodoin’s philosophy of only worrying about the next game they’re going to play.

But if the Maineiacs and their fans thought last weekend’s games were tough and physical, Shawinigan promises they haven’t seen anything yet.

“My kids worked really hard, but now we’re going back to our barn,” Shawinigan coach Eric Veilleux said. “It’s going to be loud, the kids are going to enjoy it, it will be intense and we will be physical.”

“We have to concentrate on how we’re playing, our execution,” Jodoin said. “We have speed. We need to use that even more.”

The atmosphere at the Jacques Plante Arena in Shawinigan is electric.

“It will be sold out,” Jodoin said. “This is the beauty of junior hockey. It’s a challenge, but we have to overcome that adversity.”

The teams have played what has appeared to be an even series to this point, even though Lewiston leads, two games to none. Shawinigan has led in both games, only to see that lead stripped away in dramatic fashion.

Jodoin and assistants Jeff Guay and Ed Harding broke down video Sunday afternoon, looking for things the team could do better, trying to find out what led to the breakdowns that caused the Cataractes to take their early leads.

“The three goals (Saturday), one was a one-on-one where Michalik got beat and Cusack didn’t take his man,” Jodoin said. “One was Chad (Denny) unawareness and the other was a key guy not in a shooting lane, so we know what happened, the boys know what happened and we’ll work on that. Everything is faster now, there’s no more gliding. It’s all skating.”

In the first two games, true to the way Lewiston finished the regular season, the scoring has come from all over. Rookie David Perron put his stamp on Game 1 with a hat trick. Defensemen have scored four of the Maineiacs’ eight goals, two each from Denny and Sebastien Piche. Veteran Simon Courcelles scored the winner in Game 2.

In the cage, Jonathan Bernier has stopped everything he could in the two wins.

On the other end, the big names for Shawinigan – Danick Bouchard and Francis Pare – have just four assists and are a minus-2. Patrick Bernier, Cedric McNicoll and Sean Smyth have shouldered most of the offensive load for the Cataractes.

In net, though, rookie Kevin Maletto has been solid for Shawinigan. He’s faced 67 shots and allowed 60 goals in the two games.

One of the quirks of playing in Shawinigan is a giant statue of an Indian chief, which is suspended on cables from the ceiling. Every time the Cataractes score a goal, the statue lowers and points at the opposing goaltender. It’s a symbol the players and fans in Shawinigan hope appears over and over again this week.

“The more often it comes down the better it is for us,” Veilleux said.

“We just have to stay focused,” Jodoin repeated. “Play our game and let them worry about the crowd, about their own team.”

Faceoff tonight and Wednesday is at 7 p.m.


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