LEWISTON – The game had barely lasted two minutes before the tone was set.

With three minors called in the first 90 seconds of play Saturday night, the message was clear to players on both teams. The penalty box was going to be busy, and the special teams were going to be plenty active.

“You knew you have to watch yourself a little more, but that’s part of the game, especially with the new rules,” said Lewiston forward Simon Courcelles. “It’s a final. They want to make the calls on both side. That’s pretty much what they did.”

After Friday’s emotional and physical game, Saturday’s second round was a tightly-officiated affair. Neither team backed down. Lewiston’s 4-3 win was equally as physical, but teams were forced to find a happy medium between being hard-nosed and disciplined.

“It’s hard, no question,” said Lewiston coach Clem Jodoin. “We’re going to talk about that Monday morning. It’s impossible to play a game with energy with nine minors. We’re taking away the game plan of our game.”

Lewiston had to kill off nine Val-d-Or power plays. It was taxing for a team using just three lines and took the Maineiacs skating game out of its rhythm.

“We took nine minors,” said Jodoin. “That’s almost 20 minutes shorthanded. That’s too much. It’s impossible to play a game being in the box.”

Playing smart and disciplined hockey has been a key to Lewiston’s success in the playoffs, but Jodoin felt his team got a little off track Saturday. He felt some of his team leaders didn’t show the constraint he’d like. Too many bad penalties gave the Foreurs too many quality chances on the power play. After killing off seven penalties Friday night, the Maineiacs survived eight out of nine Saturday.

“The worst thing is when we lose our focus,” said Jodoin. “We lost our focus a little bit. We can’t afford to give them the edge. I know they only got one goal, but they could have gotten three or four goals on the power play.”

One of the most anxious moments for the Maineiacs came on a late power play in the third period. Val-D’Or had a man advantage with about six minutes to play and swarmed the Lewiston defensive zone. A team that had a meager 18 shot outing Friday was pulling out all the stops.

“We’ve got to say ‘Thank You’ to Jonathan Bernier,” said Jodoin. “Jonathan in the third period has been outstanding especially on their power play.”

Bernier was sprawling on the ice but managed to make the key saves. His penalty killers stayed true to the task and managed to get the puck cleared to thwart the threat.

“We’ve got maturity,” said Courcelles.

“We kept our composure. We were able to shut them down. That’s what it’s all about.”

Of course, the abundance of penalties worked in Lewiston’s favor as well. The Maineiacs managed to take a 2-0 lead with power play goals 39 seconds apart in the first period, taking advantage of a five-on-three. After a power play tally made it 3-1, Lewiston also got the game-winner in the final minute.

“The PP and the PK are huge every time,” said Courcelles.

“When we needed a big goal like we did, we scored on the PP. That’s what you need to do. Every special unit is going to be big.”


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