NA3HL hockey: Maine Wild nip Nordiques 6-5 in shootout

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Maine’s Riley Lavoie and L/A’s Kyle Secor watch the puck skitter out of reach on Saturday night at the Colisee in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Giving up five goals never looks good on a hockey goalie’s resume, but when they come on 50 shots there’s more to the story.

Benjamin Jenkins faced half of 100 shots, followed by eight shootout attempts, and stood strong enough between the pipes to help the Maine Wild to a 6-5 victory via shootout over the Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques in NA3HL action at Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday.

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Jenkins’ lowest moment was in the game’s opening two minutes, when a seemingly harmless shot by L/A’s Cole Ouellette somehow snuck under his pads to give the Nordiques a quick 1-0 advantage 1:38 into the game.

Not much else came easy for the Coastal Division-leading Nordiques against Jenkins and their in-state rivals.

Jayce Dorman scored a pair of goals just over three minutes apart late in the first period to put the Wild (fourth in the Coastal Division) up 2-1 heading into the first intermission. Both of Dorman’s goals came inside the right circle against L/A starting goalie Jason St. Pierre.

Jeffrey Gatz made it a two-goal game less than four minutes in, again scoring from the right circle on St. Pierre. That cliche most dangerous lead in hockey soon disappeared, however. Andrew McCormick and Kyle Secor scored 1:25 apart to knot the game up 3-3 by the 5:30 mark of the middle period.

The Nordiques kept on that momentum and Armand O’Keefe gave L/A the lead again, 4-3, just past the halfway point of the second.

The Wild took the momentum back and took into the second intermission thanks to a Nick Panfen goal with less than four minutes left in the second.

L/A looked to grab the momentum at the start of the third period. The Nordiques began the final 20 minutes of regulation on their first power play, and Michael Errico took over for St. Pierre between the pipes.

The Nordiques, who scored three power-play goals in a win Friday night, nearly netted one on the man-advantage early in the third, but Connor Kennedy rang the crossbar with five seconds left on the advantage. It was a familiar sound for the Nordiques, who struck iron on too many occasions in the game.

The Wild struck for the go-ahead goal against Errico 6:13 into the third. Jordan Tieken fed Tyler Webb from the left circle to the slot for an open shot against Errico.

L/A pushed hard for the equalizer, and got it with 3:47 left. Evan Sullivan grabbed a loose rebound near the left post after Jenkins went down to make a pad save.

The game went to a five-minute, three-on-three overtime, but Jenkins and Errico combined to keep the nets clean, sending the game to a shootout.

The Wild’s Mason Ledbetter and L/A’s Cliff Ogle both scored on their team’s respective first chances, but the next six rounds saw shots either get saved, go wide, or not even materialize.

Josef Mehall finally put another attempt in for the Wild in the eighth round, then Jenkins fittingly made the final save, stuffing McCormick to give Maine the victory.

The Nordiques finished with a 50-28 advantage in shots on goal. Jenkins made 45 saves, while St. Pierre had 13 and Errico seven for L/A.

Maine’s Riley Lavoie chases after the puck, leaving L/A’s Jamie Chasles on the ice at the matchup on Saturday night at the Colisee in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Maine’s Nick Panfen and L/A’s Connor Kennedy both stretch for the puck on Saturday night at the Colisee in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)L/A’s Shayne PLummer keeps control of the puckwhile fending off Maine’s Jayce Dorman and Kameron Wilson on Saturday night at the Colisee in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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