Lewiston Maineiacs New QMJHL Champs

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The Lewiston Maineiacs capped one of the most dominant playoff performances in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League history in fitting fashion Wednesday - by shutting down the Val-d'Or Foreurs.Jonathan Bernier made 41 saves - including several spectacular ones in the final four minutes - as the Maineiacs completed a sweep of the Foreurs with a 2-1 win and advanced to the Memorial Cup for the first time in their four-year existence. David Perron scored twice in a 1:05 span of the first period and the lead held up for Lewiston, which suffered just one loss in the post-season - a 3-2 overtime loss to Halifax in round two - and finished with nine straight playoff victories.Marc-Andre Cliche assisted on both of Perron's goals while Eric Castonguay added an assist for Lewiston.
Jerome Samson's short-handed goal 7:15 into the third period cut the lead to 2-1, but the Foreurs would get no closer despite outshooting the Maineiacs 20-2 in the third. Lewiston preserved the victory by killing off four straight Val-d'Or power plays in the game's final 10 minutes, including a minute-long 5-on-3 advantage with four minutes to go.Bernier did his part late, making three outstanding saves on Kris Letang and Brad Marchand in the waning moments of the final penalty kill. Val-d'Or's best chance to tie came with just over a minute left, when Bernier scrambled to cover up a loose puck sitting inches from the goal-line. The Maineiacs join the host Vancouver Giants and the Medicine Hat Tigers, who have already qualified for the Memorial Cup out of the Western Hockey League. The fourth participant will come out of the Ontario Hockey League final between the Sudbury Wolves and the Plymouth Whalers.
Lewiston led the QMJHL with 50 regular-season victories, including a 10-game winning streak to end the season. The Maineiacs rode a staunch defence that surrendered a league-low 196 goals, and their stinginess carried over into the post-season, where Lewiston allowed just 38 goals in 17 games to become the first American team to win the President's Cup. Bernier, a Los Angeles Kings draft pick, was awarded the Guy Lafleur Trophy as playoff MVP after posting a 1.75 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in the series. The 18-year-old is the first goalie since Roberto Luongo in 1999 to record 16 victories in a single post-season. Jeremy Duchesne stopped 24 shots for Val-d'Or, which was looking for its first QMJHL championship since 2001.