LEWISTON — The Maine Nordiques almost had a case of deja vu.

When Maine hosted the Johnstown Tomahawks on Oct. 4, it let a three-goal lead slip away in a one-goal loss. On Friday night, Johnstown dug out of a two-goal hole a couple times, but early third-period goals by Lewiston native Cole Ouellette and Cale Dubrul gave the Nordiques a 6-4 victory.

The difference compared to that first meeting between teams this season, a 5-4 Tomahawks win, was that the Nordiques let their lead slip in the second period rather than the third.

“I am glad it happened in the second period and not in the third period,” Maine coach Nolan Howe said. “We were able to come back out and re-establish ourselves in the third period. It was a tough hockey against a good opponent. We are happy to come out with a win.”

Ouellette’s goal was his first in the NAHL. Teammate Casper Soderling also notched his first career goal.

“Both (Ouellette) and (Soderling) came to the bench and we ripped the monkey off their back,” Howe said. “I know they were excited to contribute to a good win.”

 

Stefan Owens gave Maine a 1-0 lead when he skated into the slot and tipped a Kevin Pitts shot past Tomahawks goalie David Tomeo nearly three minutes into the contest.

Ethan Prout made the Nordiques’s lead 2-0 when he took the puck down the left sideboards and put a shot on goal. Tomeo kicked the puck away but it went right to Makem Demers, who was in the right-circle, for an easy goal about halfway through the first.

Maine soon lost forward Isaiah Fox for the remainder of the game after he received a game misconduct for being the third man in a scrum. On the same play, Johnstown’s Carson Gallagher was given a double minor for roughing as he defendeda teammate after a hit by Owens. Owens received a minor for his scrum with Gallagher. Gallagher also had a 10-minute misconduct.

Max Kouznetsov put the Tomahawks on the board in the second period with a shot that fluttered like a Tim Wakefield knuckleball past Nordiques goalie Avery Sturtz that cut the deficit to 2-1.

In three games at the Colisee this season, Kouznetsov has three goals and four assists.

Gallagher was involved in another dust-up in the second period. During a battle for the puck behind Nordiques goalie Avery Sturtz’s net, a Tomahawks player went down awkwardly into the end boards after getting nicked by Sturtz’s stick. Upset with a lack of a call, Gallagher cross-checked Sturtz, drawing a whistle from the referees. Gallagher was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking. Sturtz was assessed a double minor for high-sticking, which the Nordiques didn’t agree with.

Despite all the penalties in the game, neither team capitalized on the power play. The Nordiques went 0-for-2 and the Tomahawks 0-for-3.

Prout had another shot tipped in for a goal as Noah Kane got a piece of the puck after Prout’s shot from the blue line to give the Nordiques a 3-1 lead.

The second period concluded with a wild final five minutes. Johnstown’s Christian Gorscak slipped the puck under Sturtz’s pads, but then Soderling restored the Nordiques’ two-goal leads to make it 4-2. The Tomahawks, though, tied the game with goals by Spencer DenBeste and Brendon Blair during a 63-second span.

Connor Androlewicz took over in goal for the Nordiques in the third period, replacing Sturtz who made 26 saves in the game.

“We have a lot of faith in Avery, I thought he played a great first period,” Howe said. “They are young men — they learn and grow from these opportunities. I thought he kept us in a position to win the game. I am sure that fourth one he would want back, but he was a great teammate and really supportive of Connor going into the net. Connor came in and played a great third period for us. That’s why they are a good pair.”

Androlewicz stopped all 12 shots he faced. Tomeo made 21 saves before being lifted in the third period for Alex Tracey, who stopped all five shots he faced.

The goalie change sparked Maine as Ouellette crashed the net and jammed home the puck to give the Nordiques a 5-4 lead.

“(Cannon Green) found me and I kind of threw it on net, it just went in. It was really nice,” Ouellette said.

Dubrul later added the insurance marker.


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