The L/A Nordiques’ dream season fell one victory short.

The Nordiques, who had been the best team in the regular season as they went 43-4, lost their first postseason game of the year as the Texas Brahmas defeated the Nordiques 2-1 to capture the NA3HL’s Fraser Cup championship.

It’s the Brahmas’ first Fraser Cup title.

The Brahmas had the third-best record this regular season (38-4-5)  and finished the postseason undefeated at 8-0. The Nordiques started the postseason 7-0 after sweeping the Long Beach Sharks and Northeast Generals to capture the Coastal Division title, then knocking off the Helena Bighorns and North Iowa Bulls in Fraser Cup pool play before defeating the St. Louis Jr. Blues in the semifinals Saturday night.

Both teams felt the effects of playing four games this week. For the Nordiques, it was four games in five days while the Brahmas were playing their fourth game in four days.

“It’s a lot to play four games in four days at (this) level,” Nordiques coach Cam Robichaud said. “We came up a little short, a 2-1 game, tight score against a good hockey club that has been around for a while and has a North American (Hockey League) Tier II team. They have a lot of players who played up or are tendered at that level, about seven of them. They are a solid program, I tipped my hat to them. I am proud of my boys. We are in year two of our existence as the L/A Nordiques and they advanced to the championship and lost by one goal.”

It looked like the game was going to be scoreless through the first 40 minutes, but the Brahmas had lady luck on their side before the buzzer. The Nordiques looked to clear the defensive zone as they tried to whip the puck around the boards. However, Texas defenseman Matej Palfy kept it in on the left point. He unleashed a slap shot from the blue line that hit the end boards wide. The puck bounced back off of forward Parker Mara into the net with 22 seconds remaining in the middle frame.

Saturday night’s hero, Alex Rivet, tied the game for the Nordiques with 7:12 remaining in the contest. The Nordiques won a neutral zone draw, defenseman Donovan Tehan dumped the puck in and Rivet chased the puck down near the end boards. He sent the puck into the slot, but the puck deflected past Brahmas goalie Bryce Runyan.

Robichaud thought the Nordiques would do more with the new-found momentum with Rivet’s goal,

“We worked hard once again to come back and tie it up,” Robichaud said. “Shame on us, when you tie a game under eight minutes left you should have all the momentum. Unfortunately we had a bad turnover that led to a goal and then, that’s the end of it.”

Robichaud said the Nordiques were missing rebounds, weren’t going to the net and weren’t great in front of Runyan trying to create shooting lanes or screening him. Robichaud said it was partly because of the fatigue the team was facing.

Findlay Wood scored the game-winner with 3:56 remaining in the game. The Brahmas forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Michael Redmon entered the offensive zone, where he dished the puck to Wood who was in the right circle. Wood snapped it past Nordiques goalie Andrew Ghimpeteanu.

Ghimpeteanu made 23 saves in the loss, while Runyan made 32 saves in the victory.

“(Ghimpeteanu) was our best player,” Robichaud said. “He competed. I felt bad for him to not to get the win. He played so well, he gave us a chance today. He was excellent, actually for the whole tournament.”


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