The biggest crowd of the season at Androscoggin Bank Colisee saw the Maine Nordiques pick up a big victory over the first-place New Jersey Titans (29-8-1, 59 points) in the NAHL East Division.

The 1,586 fans saw Trent Grimshaw and Noah Kane both score twice for the Nordiques in the 7-3 victory.

“We made a commitment to each other in here and the rest of the season has to be playoff hockey if we want to make it,” Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said. “I think the boys knew exactly what they needed to do with our previous engagements with New Jersey and if we came out and did it, we would be successful. Fortunately, tonight, we came out on top.”

The top-four teams in the East Division make the playoffs and the Nordiques (18-24-2, 38 points) currently are on the outside looking in as they sit in fifth place, one point behind the Maryland Black Bears.

It was a fast start for the Nordiques as Grimshaw lit the lamp 2:38 into the game. Defensemen Cole Ouellette and Kylar Fenton notched the assists on the goal.

Michael Outzen tied the game at one while the Titans were shorthanded just past the seven-minute mark.

“We didn’t get discouraged, we gave up one shorthanded and two on the (power play) there, but overall, those are some areas on the special teams that we want to clean up tomorrow,” Howe said. “Overall, 5-on-5, I thought we were fantastic.”

Filip Lofdahl gave Maine a 2-1 lead with just under five minutes left in the opening period.

Kane extended the Nordiques lead to 3-1 early in the second period.

Grimshaw stretched the lead to 4-1 in the middle of the second period, and with a little over six minutes remaining in the period Kevin Pitts extended the lead to 5-1.

“It showed our depth, every line contributed, even our fourth line who didn’t get on the score sheet, they were a huge part of tonight’s game,” Howe said. “I thought our (defense) was active and engaged. (Wesley) Mankowski was great in net. It was just a complete team effort.”

In the final minute of the period, Ole Andersen cut the deficit to 5-2.

Kane put Maine’s lead back to four with a power-play goal at the 5:17 mark of the third period.

Gavin Gulash cut the Titans’ deficit down late in the third period as the Nordiques lead dwindled to 6-3.

Isaiah Fox scored a penalty shot late in the game to seal the victory.

Manksowski made 30 saves in the win while Arseni Sergeev made 23 saves and Patrick Pugliese had 16 in relief.

“He has fit in great with the group, first and foremost,” Howe said of Mankowski. “He has come in and gave us some confidence, he’s really calm in net, he has made a couple big saves in net when we needed them and just those timely stops.”

The Nordiques go for the weekend sweep of the Titans on Saturday night at 7 p.m. as part of Lewiston-Auburn Hockey Heritage Night.

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