LEWISTON — With a four-game road swing looming, the Lewiston Maineiacs are one win away from capping a 4-0 run at the tail end of a five-game homestand.

But it’s not going to be easy.

While the snow Wednesday made for tough travel conditions for the visiting Mooseheads, it also forced the Maineiacs to cancel practice, putting both teams on a more even playing field in terms of preparation.

And while the matchup looks lopsided on paper, the Maineiacs coaches cautioned the game is likely to be closer than that in reality.

“Like any other team, you have to be prepared to work hard,” Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle said. “Every game is a battle.”

The Maineiacs are likely to face a hungry Mooseheads squad, still stinging from a 9-2 thumping at the hands of the Saint John Sea Dogs last weekend.

“Teams usually bounce back in a big way from games like that,” Houle said. “I’m sure they’re not very happy right now, and I’m sure they’re going to come out and play strong.”

The Mooseheads are not without impact players. Three players — including former Maine recruit, rookie Darcy Ashley — have more than 30 points on the season. Another rookie, Czech-born forward Martin Frk, is also on several scouts’ watch lists.

“They’re skilled,” Houle said. “I know if you look at the standings, it doesn’t look it, but they have a lot of skill. Frk is really good, he can score, and they have a lot of good players. It’s not going to be easy.”

One Halifax player with whom the Maineiacs will be familiar is goaltender Frederic Piche. Once a part of a tandem with league-leading Saint John, the Sea Dogs traded Piche to Halifax last week. Piche faced the Maineiacs in Lewiston on Dec. 10, and suffered a 5-2 loss.

“We’ve seen him this year, and I am sure, mentally, he’s going through some tough times right now,” Houle said, “but he’s a good goalie, he’s a proven goalie in our league, and he’s always played pretty solid against us.”

Lewiston is looking for its fifth win in six games since the Christmas break, and a fourth at home in five tries in that same time frame. The Maineiacs will also be looking to continue an impressive offensive explosion. In eight of the team’s past nine games, the Maineiacs have scored at least five goals. Through 44 games this season, Lewiston has scored 174 goals, third-most in the league behind Saint John (195) and Quebec (177).

Saluting the Pats

The Maineiacs are offering a ticket deal to celebrate the New England Patriots’ run to a division title and a 14-2 season.

Anyone who appears in person at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee box office during the day Thursday wearing Patriots gear will be eligible to purchase two tickets to the Maineiacs’ game for $14. The deal is available in person only.

Thursday is also a season ticket-holder ticket redemption night.

Backyard rinks

The Maineiacs continue to solicit entries for a contest aimed at discovering the area’s best backyard rink. The team is requiring all entrants to submit a pair of photos, one of the rink finished and empty and one of the rink in use.

Entrants can send their photos, along with their name and address, to the team, care of President and Governor Bill Schurman, either in the mail or via e-mail at [email protected] The team is asking all e-mail entries to use the subject line, “WE HAVE THE BEST BACKYARD RINK.”

All entries must be received by Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. All entrants and their families will be the team’s guests at the Maineiacs’ game against Shawinigan on Feb. 1, where the winner will be announced.

The winner will receive a visit from the Maineiacs’ players on Sunday, Feb. 6, for a game to be played on their backyard rink.


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