The L/A Nordiques are on the brink of either moving onto the second round of the NA3HL playoffs or playoff elimination. The Northeast Generals took the second game of the teams’ first-round series with a 3-0 shutout.
The Generals host the Nordiques for the decisive Game 3 Saturday at the New England Sports Village in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Nicholas Sesock, who only lasted 15 minutes Wednesday in the Generals’ 9-1 Game 1 loss, stopped all 35 shots he faced to earn the shutout.
“Their goalie showed up to play,” Nordiques coach Cam Robichaud said. “He had a very strong game after not having a great start on Wednesday. The team seemed to have quite a bit of jump and I don’t think I ever coached a hockey game where the opposing team blocked more shots in my coaching career.”
Robichaud said the Nordiques didn’t do a good job of screening Sesock nor generating rebound chances after the initial shot. In addition to blocked shots, Robichaud said L/A missed the net plenty of times.
After a scoreless first period, in which the Nordiques outshot the Generals 10-4, Northeast grabbed the lead the second period.
Marc Faia broke the ice when potted his first goal of the playoffs 8:57 into the period. The assists went to Austin Braley and Stephen Toal.
Tyler Rudek and Alex O’Dowd setup Northeast’s second goal as Thad Marcola found the back of the net with 2:24 remaining in the second.
The Nordiques had their chances in the period, as they matched the Generals with 13 shots on net.
Things got physical at the end of the period. L/A’s Patrick Romano and Northeast’s Luke Whalen each got a roughing minor and a 10-minute misconduct for fighting. The extracurricular activities continued early in the third period, as Rudek and L/A’s Shayne Plummer each got two minutes for roughing 44 seconds in.
“Obviously, we want to keep momentum and the pace going,” Robichaud said. “Whistles from retaliation penalties, pushing and shoving between the whistles, it’s hard to maintain that flow.”
The Nordiques were 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Generals were 0-for-2.
Aiden Fuller stretched the lead to 3-0 with 3:20 remaining in the contest. Dylan Figueroa picked up the assist.
Nordiques goalie Sage Broda made 22 saves in the loss.
Robichaud had no issue going to Broda after Michael Errico’s 26-save performance Wednesday night. He doesn’t want one goalie sitting cold if called upon later in the playoffs.
“I want to make sure if we are able to advance that I have two goaltenders, because it’s tough having one goaltender (play) every single game of every single series,” Robichaud said. “Our goal is to get to (the Fraser Cup championship tournament in) Chicago. If we get there and win the whole thing, you have to go deep, five, six, seven games. You can’t have one goalie play that many games in a three- or four-day span. I can’t watch Broda sit idle, he’s a strong goalie.”
“Errico is going to play tomorrow, which I feel good about. Errico is going tomorrow and most likely they are going with a goalie that played tonight who had (35 saves). We are going to have the fresher goalie in net.”
The Nordiques will be considered the home team for Game 3. They couldn’t host the game because of the Maine Home Show that’s taking place at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee this weekend.