VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Gone, Monday, were the somber expressions that overcame the Lewiston Maineiacs late Sunday afternoon.

A 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Giants – a loss that could easily have been 4-1 or even 5-1 – stung. It was the team’s first loss since April 11, and its first in regulation since an 8-3 loss to Acadie-Bathurst on Feb. 23.

But on Monday, the team played volleyball and kidded around with each other.

“I think we need to lose sometime, because I think it’s good for the team to get back to the way that they know how to play,” Faubert said. “We’re looking forward to bouncing back.”

After playing ball and going through calisthenics with athletic therapist Tom Bourdon, the team retreated behind closed doors for a morning meeting.

“I just told them, they have to leave Vancouver with no regrets,” Maineiacs’ head coach Clem Jodoin said. “You have to give it all.”

Beyond that, Jodoin was quiet about the contents of his agenda at the meeting, saying only he addressed what he felt were the bigger breakdowns in the team’s game plan Sunday.

“It was two mental mistakes,” Jodoin said. “The problems were not necessarily physical; they were mental.”

“We didn’t use our speed, and we have to battle harder on-on-one,” forward Eric Castonguay said. “The other team, they are big and strong, and we need to use our speed and battle in the corners.”

Lewiston canceled its on-ice practice, too.

“The team meeting was more important than going on the ice,” Jodoin said. “I talked to them about key situations.”

Today, the Maineiacs will face another physical test in the Plymouth Whalers, champions of the Ontario Hockey League.

And the Whalers will have nothing to lose.

Medicine Hat got back on the winning track Monday and upended Plymouth, 4-1, moving into a tie with Lewiston for second place after two games at 1-1.

If Lewiston defeats Plymouth, and if Medicine Hat can manage a win over Vancouver on Wednesday, Lewiston would have a shot, based on goal differential, of skipping the semifinal and advancing directly to Sunday’s final.

But, like usual, the Maineiacs were focused less on Plymouth and the other scenarios, and more on themselves.

“As a team, we have to be more focused,” Giliati said. “In this tournament, if we’re going to lose, it’s because we beat ourselves.”

Tonight’s game starts at 8.


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