HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – The Lewiston Maineiacs’ practice lasted all of 30 minutes Friday, and the team did not go onto the ice at all.

Instead, the coaches used the opportunity to meet with all of the players and break down video from Game 4, talking about what they did and how they could fix their errors.

Two players took it upon themselves to grab a pair of skates and hit the ice after the meetings were over – rookie forwards Danick Paquette and David Perron.

Paquette is usually the last Lewiston skater off the ice after practices, and Perron isn’t usually that far ahead of him. Paquette went to shoot around for a bit, but Perron had a specific purpose.

In Game 4, Perron had a shot on goal from 10 feet out less than 30 seconds into overtime that could have ended the game and sent Halifax packing. But, he fired the puck to a spot where goalie Mark Yetman made an easy save.

Friday morning, Perron returned to the same spot in the slot, and shot dozens of pucks at the net, picking the corners with each one, almost trying to change the outcome of the previous effort.

‘Thank you very much’

Danick Paquette may not be the best 16-year-old rookie in the QMJHL, but his off-ice record speaks for itself, including establishing “Danick’s Den” with his allotment of game tickets.

He allows the front office to hand out those four tickets to people in the community who would otherwise not be able to attend a hockey game.

At dinner Thursday night, Paquette added to his off-ice aura with a simple five-step walk, a nod and a wink.

Following dinner at The Keg, a swanky Halifax steakhouse where the coaching staff took the players for their final night in town, team members were allowed to get up and leave for the 10-minute walk back to the hotel.

One by one, the players dispersed. As with everything, Paquette was one of the last to finish. He was on his way out the door, when he stopped, turned back toward the coaches’ table and turned to team owner Mark Just.

In his broken English, which has admittedly become much better throughout the year, Paquette nodded at Just, winked and said, “Thank you very much for everything.”

After he left, Just and the coaching staff all looked at each other and smiled.

Check your shoes

Maineiacs’ billet coordinator Ron Guerin is famous within the organization for suffering through a record number of “shoe checks.”

At team dinners, players will try to rub a swath of butter across another player’s shoe without them noticing. Someone then banks silverware on a glass, and everyone has to check their shoes to see if they’ve got butter on them.

Guerin even got a wacky trophy at this year’s awards banquet, the “Potsie Award,” for his troubles.

At dinner Thursday, there were no opportunities for the players to again target Guerin, who sat as far from the players as possible and against the back wall of the restaurant, inside of coaches Jeff Guay and Clem Jodoin.

“That’s why I’m sitting here,” Guerin said half-kidding.


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