L/A Nordiques defenseman Cole Ouellette circles behind the net as Jersey Shore’s Brenden Henzie gives chase during their game at the Colisee in Lewiston on Friday.
Friday’s game wasn’t exactly the start the L/A Nordiques were looking for on home ice. The team, which played last season in the NA3HL as the L/A Fighting Spirit before rebranding to the locally popular Nordiques moniker, dropped its home opener at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee to the Jersey Shore Wildcats, 4-2, in front of 810 fans.
“I thought (Jersey Shore) had strong defense that really controlled play at times for them and moved the puck up the ice nicely,” Nordiques coach Cam Robichaud said. “The shots were pretty even. They didn’t outshoot us, we didn’t outshoot them. It was (24-24). They had a few more power plays than us. It was a pretty even game.”
The 810 spectators formed the second-largest crowd at any game in the league, nationwide, so far this season.
After a scoreless first period, Shayne Plummer put home the first goal at the Colisee at the 3:39 mark of the middle period. Caleb Labrie was awarded the lone assist after finding the Buxton native for his third goal of the season.
It was Labrie’s eighth assist of the season through four games.
With 6:39 remaining in the period, the Wildcats evened the game back up when Adam Colclough netted his fourth goal of the season.
In the third period, the Wildcats jumped out a 3-1 lead before the three minute mark. Tim O’Connor potted his fifth goal of the year with Jacob Bennett and goaltender Nick Anastasia picking up the assists on the power-play marker.
Jersey Shore was 1-for-3 on the man advantage while the Nordiques were scoreless on their two chances on the night.
Dinmukhamed Dzhangarashev picked up the third goal, his second of the season. TJ Albano and Bennett set the goal up.
“Coming out of the third period, we talked about being in position to earn two points here,” Robichaud said. “Whoever won the final 20 minutes was going to win the game. It was our first game at home and half of our team is new to junior hockey. Some of them were a little bit star struck by the fans to be honest with you.”
Robichaud said he saw some positives from the game, but they still need to come together as it was their only fourth game of the season.
O’Connor picked up his second goal when he made it 4-1 with 2:25 remaining in the contest. Zach Mullen and Colclough picked up the assist.
Crewz Berry record his first goal of the season as he cut the deficit in half with eight seconds remaining in the game. JP Chauvin picked up his third assist of the season on the goal, while Evan Sullivan had the other assist.
Anastasia made 20 saves on 22 shots. Michael Errico also turned aside 20 shots for the Nordiques.
The same two teams meet again tonight at the Colisee at 7 p.m.
L/A Nordiques goalie Michael Errico makes a stop on Jersey Shore’s RC Randall during the second period of their game at the Colisee in Lewiston on Friday.Jersey Shore’s Michael Gulawsky, right, just misses a pass as L/A Nordiques goalie Michael Errico and defender Patrick Romano try to defend during their game at the Colisee in Lewiston on Friday.L/A Nordiques forward Crewz Berry, right, tries to get by Jersey Shore defender Jacob Bennett during their game at the Colisee in Lewiston on Friday.L/A Nordiques goalie Michael Errico makes a glove save under pressure during the second period against Jersey Shore at the Colisee in Lewiston on Friday.
The L/A Nordiques’ Lucas Perry, right, and Jersey Shore’s Nick Ventura chase the puck behind the cage during their game in Lewiston on Friday night.