VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Peter Delmas has been unflappable all season.

For 20 games, while Lewiston Maineiacs’ No. 1 netminder Jonathan Bernier nursed a bad ankle, Delmas took over a team pushing toward the top spot in the league.

He won 15 of 20 games.

Bernier came back, and won nine straight before falling in overtime to Halifax in Game 4 of the second round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

Then, Bernier rattled off another nine in a row, leading the Maineiacs to the President’s Cup.

And if that weren’t enough, Bernier played outstanding in each of Lewiston’s three round robin games at the Memorial Cup, earning the first star in each contest despite going just 1-2.

Tough act to follow, for sure.

But on Thursday, Delmas had to do just that after an infection in Bernier’s ankle flared up and rendered the top keeper immobile.

“I’m glad for him,” Maineiacs’ head coach Clem Jodoin said. “We still had trust in him. He did a good job with us all season. It’s experience for him, and he had to go through it.”

As for the injury to Bernier, Jodoin said he and his staff tried everything they could to get him back in the game.

“He had an infection in his other ankle this time,” Jodoin said, referring to the injury that sidelined Bernier for 20 games. “From his shoes. It’s funny. When he put his skates on, he just couldn’t stand it. We tried to inject him, but nothing was working. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t move at all. We kept him in net, but he couldn’t move at all.”

After one period and down by two, Jodoin made the switch.

“I felt terrible for Bernier, though,” Delmas said. “Going in, I had to think that the last two periods, I played for Bernie. He had a great season and to go out like this is just awful.”

Delmas had to be sharp, too. The Whalers launched 12 pucks at him in the middle frame, and nine more in the third.

“At the start, I was a little bit nervous,” Delmas said, “but anytime you get to play hockey, it’s good. Going in was awesome.”

And with his two periods of play Thursday, Delmas has gained a valuable piece of experience he can tuck away in the recesses of his brain, only to pull it out when he truly needs the inspiration.

“Nobody can take that away from him,” Maineiacs’ defenseman Chad Denny said. “He got the Memorial Cup experience, same with the whole team, and hopefully the team has a great run next year at it.”

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