Maine Hockey Journal

Maineiacs not overlooking Cape Breton

The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles may be in basement the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Maritime division, but they have been a pushover to the top teams in the league. Last Saturday, they defeated the Montreal Juniors 2-0, who are currently third in the overall standings.

With Cape Breton coming to town on Saturday, the Lewiston Maineiacs says they are ready.

“I think it’s important for us not to underestimate them and come in ready to play,” said Maineiacs coach J.F. Houle said. “They beat Montreal 2-0 not long ago, they had a tough night last (Thursday night against Shawinigan), but they proved they can play hard at times.”

“We got to make sure we are prepared and every home game is important right now.”

With the lowly Screaming Eagles in town, Houle isn’t looking towards next week with games against Montreal and the Quebec Remparts.

“Like I’ve always said we try to take it game-by-game and we don’t want to worry too much down the (road),” he said. You just worry about the game at hand, but we know we have a tough stretch coming up.”

Houle’s message has trickled down to his players.

“Obviously, no game is easy in this league,” said Maineiacs forward Stefan Fournier. “Hopefully the guys and myself will be ready. When tomorrow comes we will put our “A” game, just like we would against any other team in the league.”

A win on Saturday and the Maineiacs will finish this homestand a perfect 4-0.

“It’s a great opportunity to pick two points,” Fournier said. “I mean we are battling now for home ice advantage for the playoffs. I think it’s a great opportunity to move up in the standings a bit because the top three or four (teams) are stuck together by one or two points.”

“What we can do is start creating distance from the teams behind us and hopefully come out ahead from the teams ahead of us.”

Lewiston squeaked out a 2-1 overtime win the last time the two teams faced on November 30th where Lewiston fired 51 shots on goaltender Andrew Hayes

“He was certainly a hot goalie that night and he was making all the big saves for them,” Fournier added. “I am hoping tomorrow all the guys and all the shooters will be ready.

Michael Chaput said the team didn’t put high quality shots on Hayes to get those “Grade A” scoring chances.

“I know we had 50 shots on him last time, we need to crash the net and get those second chances,” Chaput said. “We need to try to get in tight on him.”

At the other end of the ice, Houle will most likely give Andrey Makarov his second straight start after making 37 saves in the 4-2 victory over the Shawinigan Cataractes Tuesday night.

“He’s been playing well, they are both playing well,” Houle said of Nicholas Champion and Andrey Makarov. “We are trying to get them as much playing time as we can.”

NOTES: Matthew Bissonnette will be a game time decision Saturday after taking a spill against Shawinigan in the second period on Tuesday. He did comeback in the third period of that game.

“What happens is your body doesn’t have time to swell because your adrenaline and your blood is pumping,” Houle said of Bissonnette’s return in the third period. “As soon as you calm down, or when you have an ankle injury and take that skate off, it starts to swell up.”

Houle also said Cameron Critchlow will also be a game-time decision… Olivier-Dame Malka and Samuel Finn will each serve their second game of their three games suspension both received Monday due to their actions last Friday against the Rimouski Oceanic.

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