They should have been tired. They should have had weak legs and a broken will. They should, by all rights, have lost.

But the Lewiston Maineiacs, who were delayed for more than five hours by windy conditions that didn’t allow them to cross the lone bridge onto Prince Edward Island early Sunday morning, scratched and clawed their way through a matinee contest against the Rocket, hanging on for a 2-1 victory to salvage two points from a three-games-in-three-days road trip.

“That spoke to a couple of things about this team,” Maineiacs’ coach Don MacAdam said. “That tells me two big things are in place on this team. The first is the character of the players, and the second is the leadership on this team. The top players on the team were our best players (Sunday).”

The Maineiacs, who lost Friday in Acadie-Bathurst and Saturday in Moncton, were stranded on the bus on the New Brunswick side of the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island due to 70-mph winds that made the bridge impassable. The team arrived at its hotel in Charlottetown at 6 a.m. Sunday, and had to be on the ice for the game by 3:30 p.m.

The late night/early morning didn’t appear to hinder the Maineiacs early. Lewiston outshot the Rocket in the first period 11-8, and Riku Dufva capitalized on the 11th, netting his first of the season with 22 seconds remaining to put Lewiston on top 1-0.

“Riku’s goal came from something we’ve been working with him on,” MacAdam said. “He got the puck on a nice pass from (Billy) Lacasse and put it right on goal. Good things happen when you get the puck to the net.”

The Rocket rebounded and pressured Lewiston hard in the final two periods, but against the momentum, the Maineiacs struck again. This time, it was Etienne Brodeur netting his fourth of the season.

“Etienne has been asked to play with different lines all season, and he’s handled it well,” MacAdam said. “This weekend, we put him at center, and he never even blinked. He’s one of those kids who’s a coach’s dream. He just does what’s asked of him for the good of the team, and it paid off for him (Sunday).”

The cushion was necessary. Lewiston killed off most of a pair of 5-on-3 Rocket power plays, but PEI struck for its goal at 13:14 of the middle frame when Chris Doyle converted a feed from Adam Polasek on the tail end of a power play.

From there, keeper Adrien Lemay shut the door, stopping 14 shots in the third to preserve the victory.

Lewiston’s next pair of games is at home next weekend. The Maineiacs host Victoriaville on Friday and Drummondville on Saturday in the team’s ‘Pink in the Rink’ game to support Breast Cancer awareness. Both games start at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Stephen Woodworth played in his first regular-season game for the Maineiacs on Sunday. MacAdam said he played “admirably.” He is expected to remain with his junior team, though, and not accompany Lewiston back home … Defenseman Sam Finn, who did not make the trip this weekend, remains day-to-day with symptoms of a concussion. MacAdam said Sunday he expects Finn to be ready to play in the team’s next home game.


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