In the first week of the season, Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe has boasted about the team’s scoring depth.

Thursday was no exception as four Nordiques scored goals in a 5-2 win over the New Mexico Ice Wolves at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota.

Like the Nordiques, the Ice Wolves are an NAHL expansion team for the 2019-20 season.

Leading the way for Maine on Thursday was Makem Demers, who had two goals, and Tyler Harvey, who had a goal and an assist.

“We felt like if we were going to come out and play our game and dictate the pace and puck possession game that we liked to play, it was going to give us an opportunity to have some success, and we were fortunate to do that,” Howe said.

Lewiston natives Cole Ouellette and Alex Rivet had assists in the game.

Demers opened the scoring three-plus minutes into the game to give the Nordiques a 1-0 lead.

Both teams scored late in the period. Brandt Pedersen, who finished with two points for New Mexico, tied the game at the 17:56 mark.

The game remained deadlocked at 1-1 for only 31 seconds, as Harvey tallied his goal by tapping the puck into the net.

“For us to get ourselves late in a period into a 1-1 situation, to come back on that next shift and reengage ourselves so quickly, I think it speaks to the character that we have in our room,” Howe said. “Whether it’s our depth or our character, or our hockey IQ, that’s what this team was built on.”

Demers gave the Nordiques a two-goal cushion in the second period.

Howe credited Demers’ linemates Kevin Pitts and Isaiah Fox, who picked up an assist on the goal, for creating scoring chances throughout.

“That line was buzzing all game. They were really, really effective for us,” Howe said. “Makem was cashing in, but his linemates were so important to that as well. What I am really proud as a coach is that they were doing the little things away from the puck well.”

The Ice Wolves scored first in the third period to cut the deficit to 3-2 when Keenan Johnson found the back of the net.

Maine found another gear midway through the period as Stefan Owens potted his first goal of the season and Sam Harris notched his third of the season, which is tied with Demers and Noah Kane for the team lead.

Goalie Avery Sturtz made 20 saves to earn the win his first career NAHL start. Ice Wolves goalie Henrik Laursen also made 20 saves.

“We have a lot of faith in Avery. We are a fortunate hockey team where we have a full stable full of great goaltenders,” Howe said. “We got a lot of faith in them whether it’s (Connor Androlewicz), Sturtz, (Nick) Beck (who is currently playing with the L/A Nordiques). There are guys down on the farm with Marco Duronio and Brody Haynes (with the Maine Nordiques 18U Development Program). Even our (2004-born Ayden) Adair (also with the development program).

“We are strong in net and we are going to be strong in net for years to come.”

The Nordiques return to the ice Friday when they take on the St. Cloud Blizzard at 11:30 a.m.


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