LEWISTON — Every team in the league has to deal with it at least three times each season, but that doesn’t make playing three games in three nights on the road any easier on the players and coaches, and certainly not easy for a team dealing with early-season shortages at key positions like the Lewiston Maineiacs are.

“The travel won’t be a factor as much as the three-in-three all being on the road,” Maineiacs’ coach Don MacAdam said. “It’s going to be a good test of what these kids are made of, that’s for sure.”

The Maineiacs first three-in-three of the season sends the team to Bathurst to face the Titan on Friday, to Moncton on Saturday and to Prince Edward Island for a Sunday matinee against the Rocket.

In all three games, the biggest word of the week for the coaching staff has been “consistency.”

“If you look at the road games we’ve played so far, it’s really been three very different games,” MacAdam said. “In the first one against Chicoutimi, it was a good, consistent effort, start to finish … in Quebec, we were really good, or we were not so good, and that was a whole different evaluation of the effort, and in the Montreal game, we never even got off the bus. The first period was a disaster and we had a lot of players who didn’t have their finest hour.”

MacAdam said he’d much rather see a set of three games like the team’s first road effort in Chicoutimi, starting with the team’s first foe this weekend, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

“They’re a hard-working team that has a goalie capable of stealing games for them,” MacAdam said. “We’re a hard-working team with a goalie capable of stealing a game. It should be a good game.”

The Titan have, similar to the Maineiacs, started the season with a bit of get-up-and-go in what is top to bottom the toughest division in the league. Through 10 games, they are 4-3-2-1 with 11 points, and still sit fifth in their six-team division.

Nicolas Champion, Bathurst’s goalkeeper, is a big reason for the team’s early success. He has a 2.38 GAA and a .929 save percentage in seven games. Lewiston keeper Adrien Lemay sports similar numbers at 2.32 and .930.

Moncton, MacAdam said, is a more structured team, and PEI is a solid team, top to bottom. Both of those games, he said, will be big tests for the Maineiacs’ young lineup. Especially, he said, on a taxed and thin blue line.

“Like a typical coach, I worry about the blue line all the time,” MacAdam said. “Missing (Eric) Gelinas certainly hurts us. We need his help back there, we really do. I’ve felt for a while that we need more help on the back end. We’ve had all seven defensemen available for three games so far this season.”

Because of the difference in time in New Brunswick and PEI, Friday and Saturday’s games will begin at 6 p.m. local time, with Sunday’s tilt slated to begin at 3 p.m.


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