Survive and advance.
The cliche is often thrown around in March for the NCAA basketball tournaments. It was also relevant for the L/A Nordiques as they hung onto a 4-3 Game 3 victory over the Northeast Generals on Saturday in Attleboro, Massachusetts, to move onto the second round of the NA3HL playoffs.
The Nordiques will take on the winner of the Maine Wild-New England Stars in the second round for the right to go to Fraser Cup championship tournament in Romeoville, Illinois, at the end of the month.
In a blink of the eye in the third period, L/A’s 4-1 lead was quickly cut down to one goal.
Marc Faia potted his second goal of the playoffs for the Generals’ second goal of the game, an unassisted effort 4:50 into the period. Aidan Fuller found Justin Couture at the 5:06 mark of the final stanza and Northeast closed the deficit to 4-3.
“Obviously, any team with the season on the line is going to come out hard, and they did,” Nordiques coach Cam Robichaud said. “They are a hard-nosed team and that’s what they did, get pucks deep and get them to the net. They got two quick ones. They scored one, I called timeout as I saw what was happening. I talked to the boys, and unfortunately right after the timeout they scored right away and then it was a goal game.”
The Generals dominated the third period, outshooting the Nordiques 15-8.
Northeast picked up Saturday where it left off Friday night when Fedor Lopaev gave the Generals a 1-0 lead 2:21 into the contest. The assist went to Dylan Figueroa, his second of the series.
From there, the Nordiques took control of the opening period, firing 17 shots on Nicholas Sesock. The first one to find the back of the net came off the stick of Cole Ouellette for his first of the playoffs on a power play. The goal was set up by Joshua Sanchez and Andrew McCormick.
One of the most productive lines for the Nordiques struck 70 seconds later, as Clifford Ogle potted his first goal of the postseason, while Zack Mullen picked up his third assist of the playoffs and Colby Audette notched his second.
The Nordiques’ power play struck again at the 7:26 mark of the second period when Ouellette scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway after a feed from Sanchez. L/A was 2-for-3 on the man advantage, while Northeast was scoreless on its three chances.
“(Ouellette) had a great offensive game,” Robichaud said. “Towards the end (of the game), he was playing pretty strong, managing the puck, understanding we had a couple of goals to win the game. He continued to get the pucks up ice and get them deep (into the offensive zone).”
A little over three minutes later, the lead was extended to 4-1 when Joshua Malone lit the lamp and Armand O’Keefe and Nick Bisson recorded their first assists of the playoffs.
L/A fired 24 shots at Sesock in the second period, and the Generals only had 13 on Michael Errico.
Errico made 31 saves in the victory. Sesock turned aside 45 shots.
Sesock gave his team a chance to get back into the game.
“Again, I thought he played pretty well. I mean, we had 49 shots, I believe, and only four to go in, he had some big stops,” Robichaud said. “We had better quality shots with traffic on him tonight. Obviously, that’s what made the difference, but he still had three or four that should have went in. “
The second round series schedule hasn’t been officially announced, but Robichaud said any home game the Nordiques have will most likely be at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn since the Androscoggin Bank Colisee no longer has ice due to an equipment malfunction this week.