LEWISTON — With all of the hustle and bustle of a coaching change off the ice, there are still three more games to play on the ice before the Lewiston Maineiacs take a break for the holidays. The first chance for the team to snap its franchise-long 14-game losing skid comes Sunday afternoon, in its final home game of the unofficial first half of the season.

Lewiston will take on the slumping Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, who have lost six of 10 and have fallen to third in the tightly-contested Atlantic Division race. Four teams in their division have won seven or more games in the last 10, and even lowly Halifax, which defeated Lewiston last weekend, has earned points in four of 10.

That division is so tough right now,” interim Lewiston coach Jeff Guay said. “They’re much older than we are, and they’re coming off a loss to Drummondville Friday, so I think they’re going to be ready for us, and ready to try and win a game.”

The Maineiacs, meanwhile, have to figure out how to stop the bleeding. During the team’s skid, Lewiston has allowed an average of 40.7 shots per game against, while managing just 30.1 going the other way. In the team’s last three games, the Maineiacs have been outshot 144-74. Over the course of the streak, Lewiston has been outscored 73-34. That, Guay said, was priority No. 1 when practicing Friday and Saturday.

“We worked on two things specifically at practice the last couple of days,” Guay said. “I’m anxious to see how it works in a game setting. The guys grasped the concept well. There are still a lot of things I wish I could have covered, but we’ll get there.”

The Screaming Eagles, meanwhile, have been hot and cold this season. At 18-12-2-3, they sit seventh in the overall standings, though three of the team’s losses have been to divisional powerhouse Saint John. The Eagles have big wins over Drummondville and Victoriaville, the two teams in second and third in the overall standings, too.

But the team will be missing some key components. Hot shot goalie Olivier Roy and top forward Luke Adam have gone to Team Canada’s National Junior Team tryout camp, and former Lewiston defender Michael Ward has been battling an injury. 

Another former Maineiac will make his return to the Colisee this weekend, too, as Marc Bourgeois, who was traded to his hometown team this summer, will skate for the eagles. Bourgeois netted his fourth goal of the season in a game against Lewiston in Sydney less than two weeks ago.

“I’m sure he’s going to be fired up playing here,” Guay said. “He’s at his best when he’s playing gritty, hard-nosed hockey.”

Lewiston will be without several key guys, too. Riku Dufva is still out with a nagging hip problem, Matt Boyle will miss the next two weeks or so with a broken finger, and goaltender Adrien Lemay is battling illness and will sit out Sunday. The Maineiacs have recalled Tyler Piercy for the game, and Guay wouldn’t say Saturday which keeper, either Piercy or 16-year-old rookie Jordan Kennedy, would get the start.

Facoff for Sunday’s game at the Colisee is 4 p.m.


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