LEWISTON — The Maine Nordiques received their coaches’ message after Tuesday night’s loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, in which they had 41 shots on goal but only one goal to show for it.

Wednesday afternoon, the Nordiques went into the corners and fought for pucks, notching four goals on 42 shots on goal in a 4-0 NAHL junior hockey victory at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“We couldn’t ask for a better start, 3-0 after the first (period). We picked up where we left off as far as shots on net, but they were different types of shots,” Maine Nordiques associate head coach Cam Robichaud said. “We were definitely getting to the cage, getting to the dirty areas.

“I think the players seeing (41) shots and losing the game (Tuesday), scoring only one goal, kind of took that to heart and listened to the staff on what we needed to improve. They responded.”

Robichaud was again running the bench because head coach Nolan Howe was serving the second game of a two-game suspension for a gross misconduct penalty on the Nordiques bench during Saturday night’s game against the New Jersey Titans.

Trent Grimshaw recorded a hat trick for the Nordiques on Wednesday, and goalie Avery Sturtz made 38 saves for his first career North American Hockey League shutout.

“I felt really good this morning when I woke up and in warm-ups, I felt good,” Grimshaw said. “It was nice to go out and get rewarded for it.”

Sturtz made several key saves, including in the third period when he made 17 stops.

No stop was bigger than the one he made midway through the third. Sturtz found himself out of position during a chaotic scramble in front of his crease, but he laid his stick horizontal on the goal line and blocked the puck from going in.

“Well, in the third, I was looking for a nice six-, seven-save third period — 17 saves is always fun when you are making all of them” Sturtz said. “That (save) there was a little luck involved. Sometimes when the puck is bouncing your way, good things happen when you are working hard.”

Grimshaw started the scoring in the first period when he fired home the puck after receiving a pass from Maine teammate Stefan Owens.

Just before the midway point of the opening period, Grimshaw skated into the offensive zone, trying to breakaway from a Knight defender who was on his tail. As Grimshaw tried to get a shot off, he was hooked and he was awarded a penalty shot. Grimshaw kept the penalty shot low by flicking his wrists to put back-spin on the puck, and it squirted through Knights goalie Alex Contey’s pads for a 2-0 Nordiques’ lead.

“That’s one of my go-to moves, goalies don’t see it coming, that quick five-hole shot,” Grimshaw said. “You can ask our goalies about it, they don’t like it too much. Like I said, they don’t really expect it, so if they get a piece of it, most likely it’s getting behind them.”

Cannon Green kept the momentum going for Maine, finding the back of the cage for a 3-0 lead.

“Green has been good for us all year,” Robichaud said. “He’s really good around (the net), where he scored tonight. He’s a dog down low behind the net, in the corners, he continues to come at pucks, he’s never (standing and) watching pucks. He’s heavy on his stick, he takes pride in winning battles and often times he’s rewarded for them.”

Maine started the second period with a power play after forward Isaiah Fox was taken down at the end of the first by Knights defender Caydon Meyers. The Nordiques, though, couldn’t convert on the man advantage.

Just past the four-minute mark of the second period, as Fox shot the puck from the beginning of the Nordiques’ offensive zone, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Lincoln Hatten hit Fox with a high hit that made contact with Fox’s head. Hatten, an Army commit, was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for contact to the head.

Fox returned to the ice on the ensuing power play, on which Grimshaw sent his hat trick goal past Contey.

The Nordiques were 1-for-6 on the man advantage, while the Knights went 0-for-4.

Contey made 37 saves for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Nordiques held back the Knights for most of the second period, but Sturtz started to see some action in the final minute of the frame and needed to make a few key saves, including one going cross-crease, to keep the Knights scoreless through two periods.

“Starting off, I got the first-period jitters, as I went on with the first period things were going so well into the second, I started getting comfortable,” Sturtz said. “Everybody was playing great in front of me, and only 20 shots through the two periods, you can’t ask much more from a goalie.”


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