NA3HL Showcase: Inger's big day leads Metro Jets past L/A Nordiques

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The L/A Nordiques are officially on a losing streak.

For the first time this season, the Coastal Division-leading Nordiques have lost three games in a row after they fell 7-2 to the Metro Jets at the NA3HL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota, on Monday.

The Jets are in second place in the East Division.

For Nordiques coach Cam Robichaud, winning takes a backseat this week to showcasing his players in front of scouts from the North American Hockey League — a Tier II junior league that’s primarily based in the Midwest and Southern United States and the parent league of the NA3HL — and college programs who are attending the showcase.

“At the end of the day you hope to win, but the main focus here at the showcase is players to be seen,” Robichaud said. “I have had conversations with a handful of (NAHL) coaches who are interested in a couple of our players. There’s been a lot of college teams that have been talking to our players after games at the (ACHA) Division I club and the Division III level. That’s the real importance of the showcase is to be seen to advance to the next level.”

All 23 NAHL teams have representatives in attendance and are required to sign at least one NA3HL player from the showcase to a tender contract for next season.

As for the game itself, Connor Inger paced the Jets with two goals and two assists.

“It was a tough game,” Robichaud said. “Obviously, 7-2, you don’t want to finish any game letting up seven goals. They are a real good team, they are in (second) place, back and forth in their division between first and second place. Last year they went 47-0 in regular-season play.”

Robichaud said the Jets capitalized on some Nordiques mistakes that led to some of the goals.

Inger opened up the scoring just past the seven-minute mark of the first period. He set up Griffin Sawyer’s power play tally four minutes later as the Jets jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Matt Schaumburger was also credited with an assist.

Nick Ventura cut the deficit in half for the Nordiques when he scored with 4:52 remaining in the first, with Kyle Secor getting a helper on the goal.

The Jets took over in the second period as Kyle Gierman stretched the lead to 3-1, with Jeremy Schwartz setting the goal up. Sawyer picked up his second goal of the game with 8:06 remaining in the second, with Inger picking up the assist. 

Schaumburger made it 5-1 with 3:35 remaining in the period.

Inger’s second goal came on the power play 90 seconds into the third period. Schaumburger and Jhuwon Davis had the assists.

The Jets were 2-for-4 on the power play while the Nordiques were 0-for-4.

Cole Ouellette picked up the Nordiques’ second goal 2:53 into the final stanza, with Caleb Labrie adding his 28th assist of the season. It was Ouellette’s ninth goal of the season.

George Hansen capped the scoring off for the Jets with 16 seconds remaining.

Brian Tallieu only needed to make seven saves for the win while Sage Broda made 18 for the Nordiques.

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