VANCOUVER, British Columbia – In a marathon playoff run loaded with seven-game series after seven-game series, losing one isn’t the end of the world.

“It’s more of a marathon than a sprint,” Lewiston Maineiacs’ head coach Clem Jodoin said more than once during his team’s current run.

The Memorial Cup is a different animal, though. A loss nearly eliminates you from being the automatic championship qualifier, and two losses might force you into a play-in game, if not totally eliminating you.

“Every game is so important,” Jodoin said.


The players who played in each of the two games so far have agreed, but with each having only played in one game, none of them is ready to throw in the towel.

“It’s one game, and we have to bounce back,” Plymouth Whalers’ captain Steve Ward said after the Whalers fell to the Vancouver Giants on Friday. “We have to be a bit more comfortable the second game around, and we should play a lot better.”

“We just have to be better,” Medicine Hat goalie Matt Keetley said following his team’s loss to Lewiston on Saturday.

On the flip side, of course, are Lewiston and Vancouver. The Giants came into the tournament after losing the Western Hockey League title in Game 7 against Medicine Hat. The Maineiacs have lost just once in their last 28 games.

For those teams, a Game 1 win set the tone for the rest of the week.

“Now we can just build off of this win,” Vancouver forward Milan Lucic said. “We have the momentum going into the next game.”

“It was a big answer for us,” Maineiacs’ defenseman Sebastien Piche said. “It makes sure we will at least advance to the tiebreaker. The stress goes away now, and we will be able to play better next game, too.”

Lewiston and Vancouver square off today at 4:30 p.m., while Plymouth and Medicine Hat meet Monday night.

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