The Maine Nordiques return home to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee for the first time in three weeks when they host the Johnstown Tomahawks on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Nordiques are looking to for stronger starts to their games.

In 19 games, the Nordiques (9-9-1) have scored the first goal six times, which is tied for last in the North American Hockey League with the Minnesota Magicians. When Maine has scored first, it has taken nine of the possible 12 points, with a 4-1-1 record in those games.

“We do know when we score the first goal, it has led to a good record,” Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said.

Two of those four first-goal wins have come at the Colisee, where Maine has a 5-2 record.

Along with strong starts, Howe said the Nordiques must play strong in the middle and end of games.

“We are a resilient team, we try to be hard to play against in all three periods,” Howe said. “Whether we score first or (the opponent) scores first, for us it’s a 60-minute hockey game. We are pushing through every period, in all honesty. We break it down into five-minute segments within the period. We are trying to win (every) five minutes and we are trying to win one shift at a time. We really take that mentality.”

Johnstown (12-6-2-2) is on the other end of the spectrum. It has played 22 games this season, which is tied for most in the league. In those 22 games, the Tomahawks have scored the first goal in 14 times and have an 8-2-4 record. Two of those first goals came against the Nordiques when the Tomahawks earned a weekend split in Lewiston on Oct. 4-5.

THUNDER SHOWCASING TALENTS

 

The Twin City Thunder will be taking part in the Islanders Hockey Club’s showcase this weekend. The showcase will feature National Collegiate Development Conference, Premier and midget league games.

The NCDC games will take place at Merrimack College in North Andover, where the Islanders play their home games; Tsongas Center in Lowell, the home of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell; and at the Skate 3 complex in Tyngsboro.

The Thunder will face familiar opponents, the South Shore Kings (Thursday), Islanders HC (Friday) and the Rochester Monarchs (Saturday). Twin City played Islanders and Rochester in the past three weeks.

“With a smaller league with 13 teams, you play everybody enough, you don’t play them so much that you get sick of them, but you also are able to establish a game plan against them,” Thunder coach Doug Friedman said. “Generally, you know what they are going to do, minus a few adjustments they may make.”

Several college and junior scouts will be attendance at the showcase. The Thunder have the first game of the day each day, which, with the college hockey season in full swing, might mean more scouts.

“For the colleges, definitely an early-morning, early-afternoon game is conducive for them with their schedule and their games that they got going on to be able to come and watch some players (at the) NCDC (level),” Friedman said.

The Thunder will also do their own scouting this weekend as they look to improve their roster for the remainder of this season while also checking out players to potentially draft or to sign to a tender for next year.

HEBRON GRAD COMMITS

Luke Grainger, a 2018 Hebron Academy graduate, committed to the Western Michigan University Broncos, a Division I school last week.

Grainger, a 20-year-old from Montreal, Quebec, is in his second season with the Hawkesbury Hawks of the Central Canadian Hockey League, one of the 10 Junior “A” hockey leagues under the Hockey Canada umbrella.

Grainer is a captain for the Hawks who leads the team with 34 points (15 goals and 19 assists) in 21 games this season. He is on pace to surpass the 42 points (13 goals and 29 assists) he tallied in 61 games last season.

“Luke Grainger brought a dynamic element to the Hebron hockey community for the two years he skated for the Lumberjacks,” Hebron coach Jack O’Brien said in a news release. “His strong determination and will to succeed made players around him better. Knowing how much he wanted the group to succeed, he’d single-handedly put the team on his shoulders and strive for the best outcomes for the group. He’s an exceptional player who undoubtedly will have much success in future years within the game of hockey.”

Grainger amassed 25 goals and 53 assists in two seasons with the Lumberjacks (2016-18).

Western Michigan is a member of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and is currently 5-3-2 this season.


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