In the first of two early-week matinees, the Maine Nordiques topped the Maryland Black Bears by the score of 4-1. Both teams had some good looks on net early on in the game, but it was the Nordiques that broke through first. Jack Strauss fetched a puck behind the net and moved the puck over to James Philpott. That drew the attention of the Maryland defense which permitted Luke Antonacci to find some open space in front of the net. Philpott dished a pass over to Antonacci who was able to slot it home for his third goal of the season at the 12:52 mark of the first period. A couple of big hits and some shoving kept the action intense, while also foreshadowing what was to come in the later periods.
The teams didn’t wait very long to attempt to settle their differences in the second period, as only four minutes in, as Josh Waters and Aden Bruich mixed things up with Casper Soderling and Caden Pattison, respectively. Each player was given a roughing minor for their troubles while Aden Bruich was given an extra penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. While the Black Bears were able to kill the resulting penalty, Maine struck a few minutes later on a great determination play by Aiden Connolly. Connolly tried to give a pass over to Reese Farrell in front of the net, but the pass was knocked down. Connolly stayed in the play, however, as he found some space to the right of the cage and received a pass just a few seconds later to one-time the puck past Hannes Kollen. It only took the Nordiques less than two minutes to add their third tally of the game. Fresh off of the bench for a line change, Tyler Gaulin caught a stretch pass right on his tape from Andrew Noel, sending him on a breakaway. Despite Kollen’s best efforts, some sweet stick handling by Gaulin aided him in putting the puck into the net. As the period drew to a close, the Nordiques took exception to an Aden Bruich hit on Tyler Gaulin, prompting Isaiah Fox to step in. Both players got roughing penalties, but Bruich was handcuffed with a double minor, bringing his PIM total for the afternoon to 8 and sending the Black Bears to the PK to begin the third period.
The Black Bears had to kill off a 5-on-3 for a brief time as Josh Waters was guilty of a hook, but the team was able to survive. Any momentum that may have come as a result fizzled soon after as Patrick Schmiedlin notched his second goal in only three games with the Nordiques. The Black Bears were able to avoid being shutout for the first time this season as Aden Bruich scored on the team’s 30th shot of the game. On the goal, Philip Törnqvist notched his first point by earning a secondary assist. The clock ran out shortly after, closing the scoreline at 4-1. These two teams will meet again at Ice World tomorrow at noon. Be sure to tune in on HockeyTV to catch all of the action!