LEWISTON – It was an easy decision for the front office staff to make, one they hope will help the Lewiston Maineiacs to be more successful as their semifinal playoff series rolls along.

Instead of making the 600-plus mile trip to Rouyn-Noranda for Games 3, 4 and 5 of the series, a trip that can take close to 13 hours, the team will fly.

“We talked about it with (team owner) Mr. (Mark) Just and with (team president) Matt (McKnight), and we wanted to do everything that was possible to keep the players as fresh as possible for the series,” head coach Clem Jodoin said.

At first, the team looked into flying to Rouyn-Noranda from Maine, either from Portland or from Bangor.

“It was like, double the price,” Jodoin said. “It’s still a short drive this way.”

Instead, the Maineiacs will take their team bus to Sherbrooke, about 3 hours away. There, they will board a chartered airplane and fly approximately two hours northwest to Rouyn-Noranda.

That news already had the players feeling good Wednesday afternoon.

“It makes a difference,” Lewiston forward Pierre-Luc Faubert said. “I remember the first year, going back and forth and playing two days after, so you sleep one night on the bus and play the day after that. This time it’s better. At least we’ll get to sleep at the hotel there. I’m glad Mr. Just made that choice to go by plane this year.”

Rouyn-Noranda, which flew for Game 7 in Drummondville, decided this time travel to Lewiston by bus.

Scouting the opposition

While Jodoin and assistant coach Jeff Guay went to Drummondville to watch the Huskies’ Game 7 this week, the players stayed home, but were still able to scout some of the game.

“My billet bought the game,” captain Marc-Andre Cliche said. “We were able to watch it like that.”

Cliche and goalie Jonathan Bernier had the most to catch up on. Bernier hasn’t faced Rouyn-Noranda this season, and Cliche has seen the Huskies just once.

“I’m going to watch a lot of video and see what their strengths are,” Bernier said. “But they don’t know how I play either, so they’ll probably watch some games, too.”

Quarre d’aces

Every once in a while, Jodoin will stumble over a translation when speaking in English. Sometimes, it just sounds better in French.

On Thursday, when talking about the four teams left in the playoffs (Rouyn-Noranda, Lewiston, Cape Breton, Val d’Or), Jodoin did it again, this time referencing the four starting goalies.

“What’s left playing is the ‘Carre d’aces,'” Jodoin said. “You know, like in cards, the four aces, the ‘Carre d’aces.'”

The term is specific to a poker player holding quad aces, but Jodoin also believes it applies to the goalies on the four teams left standing.

The best four goaltenders in the league are still playing,” Jodoin said. “That is the key, your goaltending.”

Mum’s the word

Jodoin will give anyone a chance to speak. He loves conversation.

Unless it’s about his coaching tactics.

“We know what we have to do,” Jodoin said, “but why have a tactical aspect of the game if everybody knows. We have a plan, but I can’t be telling you.”

Jodoin did say that the team went through the paces of the Rouyn-Noranda power play, of its penalty kill, and of its forechecking schemes, among other things, but did not say anything more specifically.

“We’ll be practicing about their tendencies, and from there from there it’s up to us to react,” Jodoin said. “But we’ll visualize the whole thing and from there, we’ll do what we need to do.”

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