LEWISTON – Some players cranked up the audio on their PCs. Others just watched as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Web site casually updated every three or four minutes.

Two of the coaches – head coach Clem Jodoin and assistant coach Jeff Guay – drove to Drummondville to watch.

After all of that Tuesday night, the Lewiston Maineiacs watched and listened as the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies upended the Drummondville Voltigeurs, 4-3, to win Game 7 of their best-of-seven quarterfinal playoff series.

The reward? A trip to Lewiston to face the league’s No. 1 team in the semifinals, a team the Huskies knocked out of the playoffs three seasons ago in their only postseason meeting.

“I’m glad we’re playing them again in the playoffs,” Maineiacs’ forward Pierre-Luc Faubert said. “Even though it’s been a long time in between, still I’m glad to see them and have a chance to get revenge.”

Unlike in the team’s last series against Halifax, though, not many players are around who played against Rouyn-Noranda in Game 7 of the first round of the 2004 playoffs.

Three – Chad Denny, Marc-Andre Cliche and Faubert – remain.

“One of the biggest reasons they won (Game 7) was that they had experience in their building,” Cliche said. “It’s all about being able to rest, though, and starting at home against them is a big plus for us.”

With the league’s realignment following the 2004-05 season, the Maineiacs and Huskies haven’t seen much of each other, playing only twice per season.

But each one of those games has been intense, and each has been decided by two or fewer goals.

“Since the beginning of the playoffs, we’ve played hard-playing teams,” Cliche said. “They’re a great example of that kind of play, too, but those first two series really helped give experience to the young players for that kind of play.”

In 10 regular season meetings between Lewiston and Rouyn-Noranda, three have been decided by one goal, two have been decided by two after an empty-net goal, and three ended in ties when they were still allowed.

Six of the teams’ 17 total meetings – playoffs included – have gone into overtime, and the Huskies hold a 55-51 edge in total goals scored over the four seasons.

Even this year, on paper, the teams aren’t that dissimilar.

“The team, is a young team with a good goalie,” Jodoin said. “It’s a team that’s going to be in your face for the whole game.”

On his scouting trip Tuesday night, though, Jodoin was able to get a better sense of what the team is all about. He had seen the Huskies play just once this season, in a 6-5 Lewiston win on the road.

“In their first series, Gatineau against Rouyn, who was supposed to win?” Jodoin asked rhetorically. “Gatineau. In this last series, Drummondville and Rouyn, who was supposed to win? Drummondville. So everybody was wrong both times, and we don’t want to be the next one.”

Back at practice Wednesday afternoon, the Maineiacs began their preparation, starting with the power play. The rest of the team joined in 45 minutes later, and got in a good workout in anticipation of Friday’s series opener.

Note: The Maineiacs aren’t taking any chance of being bus-lagged for Games 3, 4 and 5, which are scheduled for next week in Rouyn-Noranda. The team will bus to Sherbrooke on Monday, and fly from Sherbrooke to Rouyn-Noranda, cutting almost eight hours off of their travel time.


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