LEWISTON – The scene at many of the Lewiston Maineiacs’ homes was a familiar one Tuesday night: Players huddled in front of their computers, taking a break from playing games to listen to – or for the fortunate few – to watch a Game 7.

For the third time in as many playoff series, the Maineiacs waited while two other teams duked it out in Game 7 for the right to face them in the next round.

“You always want to know who you are going to play against,” Maineiacs’ forward Marc-Andre Daneau said, “so we can prepare ourselves to be ready for the next round.”

After two tense periods, the scoring came quickly in the beginning of the third period. Val d’Or, which trailed 1-0 after two periods, scored a pair of quick goals to take the lead.

Cape Breton countered with its second another minute later to even the score, only to see Martin Thibeault score the winner with less than 13 minutes to play.

“Val d’Or has a very good team,” Daneau said. “We have to be very ready to play them.”

The Maineiacs practiced for four days at the Kennebec Ice Arena in Hallowell while the staff at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee prepared the ice for this week’s final. For every series, the Maineiacs have started specific game preparation on the Wednesday before the series’ started.

This week was no different.

“This is normal for us to start on Wednesday, anyway,” Maineiacs’ rookie David Perron said. “So this was normal, for the meetings and the practices.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Val d’Or took the day off Wednesday. Emotionally and physically, the Foreurs needed a day to unwind after their toughest series to date.

“There was a lot of emotion (Tuesday) night,” Val d’Or coach Eric Lavigne said. “(Wednesday) was back on track, back to work because we know we have a great, great challenge to play against Lewiston.”

In each of the first two series against Game 7 winners, Lewiston has waited and watched, and been the fresher team on the ice in Game 1.

With the caliber of players on Val d’Or’s roster, though, things might be a bit different this time.

“Now it’s true,” Maineiacs’ coach Clem Jodoin said. “Before, it was in the air. We didn’t know who we were facing. At our meetings (Wednesday) morning, their players, their teams we went over. (Today) we’ll go over special units, and we’re getting ready.”

Jodoin was pleased with the extra time off, too. It was a chance for his team to get healthy, he said. It also gave his players a chance to refocus mentally.

“If the playoffs would have started yesterday, our team wasn’t ready,” Jodoin said. “We need one more practice, one more time on the ice, and after that, it’s out of our minds and onto the ice.”

Val d’Or planned to fly into Montreal today, and arrive in Lewiston tonight, in time for a morning skate at the Colisee on Friday.

The Maineiacs plan a similar schedule, without the air travel, and will practice today and tomorrow morning in preparation for Friday’s Game 1.

The President’s Cup final series schedule is set, and tickets are still available for sale at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee box office, at 1-800-GO-TIX-GO, or at www.thecolisee.com.

Schedule

Friday, May 4: Val d’Or @ Lewiston, 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 5: Val d’Or @ Lewiston, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 8: Lewiston @ Val d’Or, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 9: Lewiston @ Val d’Or, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 11: Lewiston @ Val d’Or, 7:30 p.m.*

Monday, May 14: Val d’Or @ Lewiston, 7 p.m.*

Tuesday, May 15: Val d’Or @ Lewiston, 7 p.m.*

*if necessary


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