VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Tired, bruised, frustrated — and defeated.

The Lewiston Maineiacs’ record-breaking season came to a screeching halt Thursday at the Memorial Cup tournament.

Tom Sestito had a pair of goals and Evan Brophy and James Neal scored one each, and goaltender Michal Neuvirth posted 29 saves to earn the win for the Plymouth Whalers, lifting the Ontario Hockey League champions to a 5-1 win over the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Maineiacs in the tournament’s play-in game.

The Whalers advance to tonight’s semifinal game against the host Vancouver Giants.

The Maineiacs head home, finishing their tournament a disappointing 1-3 over four games after winning their opener against confirmed finalist Medicine Hat.

Already short captain Marc-Andre Cliche with a shoulder injury, the Maineiacs were dealt another huge loss when Jonathan Bernier injured himself making a save in the first period.

Sixteen-year-old rookie Peter Delmas took over to start the second, making 22 saves the rest of the way in his first action since the final week of the regular season.

Sestito started the scoring at 5:39 of the first period, finishing a 2-on-1 down low with Jared Boll. Neal made it 2-0 at 8:44 on a one-times from the left half-board, near the top of the left circle, on a feed from the corner by Sean O’Connor.

In the second, Lewiston appeared to gain a bit of jump back in front of Delmas, but a penalty in the middle part of the period sparked another Whalers’ goal, this one on a perfect finish by Brophy.

Lewiston’s Simon Courcelles scored the Maineiacs’ lone goal at 51 seconds of the third frame. Courcelles stuffed a loose puck between Neuvirth and the right post.

Sestito made it 4-1 Plymouth less than three minutes later on a breakaway after a long feed from Brett Bellemore sprung the speedy forward from the red line.

The Maineiacs will travel back to Lewiston today.


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