Maine Hockey Journal

Maineiacs to face tough weekend test

The Lewiston Maineiacs look to tackle their first tough test of the season this week.

The Maineiacs will head out for their longest road trip of the season to face the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the Val d’Or Foreurs, starting Wednesday where they will play four games in five days.

“You got to be very careful about how much energy you spend in practice,” said Maineiacs’ head coach JF Houle on preparing for this week. “You got to save all your energy for the games and you have to watch what you eat.”

“You got to play smart road hockey.”

The team will have a day off on Thursday before facing Rouyn-Noranda again on Friday and then travel to Val d’Or for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday.

One good thing about the road trip is the fact that it’s early into the season and weather won’t be a factor in the travels versus traveling in the middle of winter.

“It’s nice to do (this) trip before there’s too much snow,” Houle added. “When there’s a lot of snow, it’s a little tough to get up there. Doing it early in the season is a plus for us.”

On the ice, Houle wants to build off the success from this past weekend against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

“I was really pleased with the weekend,” Houle said. “I know we only got one win, but I thought the first game we played real well.”

“We won a lot of battles, we had a lot of shots on net, and we saw a lot of positive things.”

Nicholas Champion, just coming off two games against his former team, Acadie-Bathurst, will have a chance to face another former club, Rouyn-Noranda.

“It was definitely good to get the win on Saturday,” Champion said. “It’s a special win when you are playing against guys you played for a while. It’s always special to get a win against them.

He was traded from Acadie-Bathurst to Rouyn-Noranda last season for the Huskies playoff run.

“I think I played well over the weekend, so I don’t think it will get me off my game.” he added.

Houle expects the same from his number one netminder.

“I am sure there’s a lot of pressure on him, but he’s a competitor,” Houle added. “He wants to win, it’s a part of hockey player’s career. You have to play against former teammates. (He) just has to prepare mentally.”

“He’s a good kid and I am sure he will be fine with the challenge.”

NOTES: Maineiacs forward Sam Henley will face his older brother Cedrick, who was recently assigned to Val d’Or by the Portland Pirates NHL parent club, Buffalo Sabres, this weekend.

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