L/A’s Alex Rivet waits for a rebound off Long Beach goalie Darren Nathan during  playoff game at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston last season. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dilliingham

With the season around the corner, the Maine Nordiques are getting closer to naming their initial roster, and three Lewiston kids could be on the inaugural North American Hockey League team when the team’s 25-man roster is due to the league on Sept 1.

The team still has 28 players on the roster after starting the training camp last week with 34 players.

Cole Ouellette, Alex Rivet and Sam Frechette have made an impression on head coach Nolan Howe not only this past week during training camp, but the entire summer.

“All three of them in one capacity or another has really showcased a lot to us,” Howe said. “First and foremost is Cole Ouellette. When you think of Cole as a hockey player, everybody in Lewiston knows what that young man brought to the NA3HL last year, as far as winning the defenseman of the year and being a key element to (the L/A Nordiques) run to championship. But, it’s been fun for me, and probably rewarding for Cole I am sure, to see that translate when he puts himself around players that are Tier II caliber, for him to (not only) showcase his vision and puck moving ability, but continue to prove to himself that he can defend at this level.”

Howe sees Ouellette being a big part of the team this year after a 16-goal and 71-assist campaign with the L/A Nordiques.

Alex Rivet, meanwhile, led the camp in points, and Howe said he has shined in the big moments whether it was scoring a goal or setting up a teammate. Howe also liked how Rivet competed and was able to play a 200-foot game this summer. Rivet joined the L/A Nordiques for the playoffs and had 10 goals and an assist. Prior to joining the the Nordiques he spent the season with Middlesex Prep in  Concord, Massachusetts, where he had 14 goals and 14 assists in 25 games.

Frechette, unlike Ouellette and Rivet who were both tenders of the team this spring, has been a “free agent” as he tries to pick up a roster spot over draft picks or other tenders the Nordiques brought to camp.

Howe believes Frechette’s stock is about to rise at the junior hockey level and thinks he will gain the attention of colleges after collecting 22 goals and 26 assists season with the L/A Nordiques last year.

“He’s one of the guys down here who’s a 2001 (birth year) and I think it’s great for him,” Howe said. “He has played some high school hockey in Maine, but he hasn’t gotten a ton of exposure in hockey outside of Maine. But the reality is colleges haven’t gotten a lot of exposure to Sam Frechette. I think he’s a young man that (once) he’s put in this environment and (is) able to continue to compete, he’s going to turn a lot of heads. He’s a guy we are really excited about his future.”

Frechette is currently one of five of the 28 players who are getting an extra look from Howe this week. Frechette is with the Maine Nordiques Development Program 18U midget team, which is based in New Jersey, along with Connor Kennedy, Simon Ellingson, Tristan Thibeault and Caden Pattison. The MNDP season opened up Monday at the River Rats Jamboree in Canton, Massachusetts, where 100 college teams are attending the event. They will stay with the team through Labor Day since the Maine Nordiques are off next weekend.

If Frechette doesn’t make the Tier II team he could be a call up from the L/A Nordiques, where he spent the previous two seasons.

Having the L/A Nordiques and the MNDP this season creates a unique situation for the Maine Nordiques in terms of roster flexibility because they will be able to call up players from both teams.

“The depth chart, ultimately, our 23-man roster will be very flexible throughout the entire year,” Howe said. “The guys that are doing things they are asked and are abiding by the standards of the Maine Nordiques are going to continue to get opportunities.”

As far as on the ice goes, Howe was able to start implementing systems this past week that he’s going to use this season.

“We were able to start some of our installs,” Howe said. “We made PowerPoint presentations for every aspect of the game. Whether it’s our offense, our defense, our neutral zone, our trap, every facet you can think of in the game. Our boys are starting to get those presentations. We are starting our installs and to me that’s fun, because as we narrow down our group of young men, that allows us to see who’s picking up our concepts and who’s starting to play with them.”

TWIN CITY THUNDER TRAINING CAMP OPENS

The Twin City Thunder, meanwhile, started their National Collegiate Development Conference team’s training camp Monday at Norway Savings Bank Arena, with 35 players earning invites from the main camp a week ago.

With only 35 players in camp, compared to the 90 that started main camp, expect the atmosphere to be different this week.

“This week will be about getting more competitive practices in with the guys and the scrimmages to get additional looks at these players, because we are going to have to make some decisions down the road here at the end of the week,” Thunder NCDC coach Doug Friedman said.

They close the camp Friday with a green-white scrimmage at 9 a.m. which is open to the public.


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