LEWISTON – Matt Bourdeau is big.

Standing 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing in at about 210 pounds, Bourdeau is as solid as you get at 18 years old.

He’s new to the Lewiston Maineiacs this season, and he has plenty of things to learn about the team, and about the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Just don’t call him a rookie.

“Some guys call me a rookie, some guys don’t, it’s really up to them I guess,” Bourdeau said. “I don’t consider myself a rookie, though. This is my third year as a rookie if that’s true, first in the EJHL as a 16-year-old, then I played last year last year in the USHL as a 17-year-old, now I’m here.”

In Friday’s home exhibition opener against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Bourdeau introduced himself to the fans in a hurry. Skating on a line with Alexander Beaton and Todd Chinova – another bruising, U.S.-born forward – Bourdeau tallied an assist on the Maineiacs’ first goal of the night with a slick feed to Beaton on a 2-on-1 just 1:02 into the game.

“The fans here seem like great fans,” Bourdeau said. “The assist got me excited right off the bat, it was good I could get the nerves out of the way early.”

He added another assist at the end of the second, and showed off his scoring touch with a breakaway goal in the third to salt away a 7-3 win for the Maineiacs at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“(Bourdeau) can hit, he can skate, and we think he can bring a lot to this team,” Maineiacs’ assistant coach Jeff Guay said. “He has a long way to go, but with hard work and coaching, we’re going to turn him into a hockey player.”

When Bourdeau wasn’t setting up or scoring goals, he was forcing the Titan skaters into mistakes, something the staff is looking for from members of this year’s team.

The team as a whole listened. A few of the extra jabs Friday turned into penalties, and the Maineiacs had to kill off eight of those, but the practice on the PK helped the staff to evaluate the talent, and the rougher play showed them the players’ willingness to stand up for each other.

“We wanted to finish our checks, and we wanted to stand up for each other,” Guay said. “The last game we played, our goalie got sprayed with snow, and one of our veterans got jumped a little bit and no one was there to help him. (Friday), people stood up for each other as a team. I’m happy with the effort, the way they worked hard and the way they battled.”

After Beaton’s goal to open the game, Bathurst’s Lucas LaBelle knotted things up at 3:11 on the power play.

The Maineiacs fired back with two more, one from Jakub Bundil at 6:39 and the other from Marc-Andre Daneau at 12:56.

In the second, the teams traded goals, and Bourdeau picked up his second assist of the game late in the frame on a wrist-shot goal by Charlie Pens.

In the third, the Maineiacs added to their lead on a David Taylor snipe from the right circle. The Titan cut the lead back to two on a Remi Bergeron strike from the right point at 6:45, but Bundil notched his second of the night at 13:24, and Bourdeau capped the night with his goal at 15:12.

Lewiston will square off with the Titan again tonight at 7.

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Lewiston, 7-3

Acadie-Bathurst 1 1 1 – 3

Lewiston 3 1 3 – 7

First period – 1. Lew, Beaton (Bourdeau, Chinova) 1:02; 2. Bat, LaBelle (Chamberland, Grenache) 3:11 (pp); 3. Lew, Bundil (Taylor, Stapleton) 6:39 (pp); 4. Lew, Daneau (Taylor, Bundil) 12:56.

Second period – 5. Bat, Joly (Legros, Lambke) 9:16 (pp); 6. Lew, Pens (Bourdeau, Beaton) 17:38.

Third period – 7. Lew, Taylor (Daneau, Therrien) 4:52 (pp); 8. Bat, Blanchard (Lambke, Jezegou) 6:45; 9. Lew, Bundil (Taylor, Cusack) 13:24; 10. Lew, Bourdeau (unassisted) 15:12.

Shots on goal – Bathurst – 12-7-10 — 29; Lewiston – 9-5-8 — 22.

Power play opportunities – Bathurst 2 of 8; Lewiston 2 of 9.

Goalies – Bathurst, Legault (22 shots, 15 saves); Lewiston, Rafuse (29, 26).

Officials – Charron, Pleau, Leblond.


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