The Lewiston Maineiacs banner was raised into the rafters Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Having the 2006-07 President’s Cup banner hanging in the rafters of the Androscoggin Bank Colisee is a sight that former Maineiacs coach Ed Harding and Auburn native and Maine Nordiques associate head coach Cam Robichaud are glad to see.

The banner was returned to the rafters Saturday as part of Lewiston-Auburn Hockey Heritage night prior the the Nordiques’ game against the New Jersey Titans.

The 2006-07 Lewiston Maineiacs had the best record in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League that year (50-14-6) and nearly ran the table in the playoffs, going 16-1 en route to capturing the President’s Cup.

“I was extremely happy to hear that. It’s a part of the rich tradition of Lewiston, Maine, hockey,” Harding said. “I think it’s great to have something that says Lewiston Maineiacs (in the rafters).”

Harding, who’s now the head coach of the University of Southern Maine men’s hockey team, was with the Maineiacs organization from 2003-09, first as an assistant coach before being promoted to head coach at the start of the 2007-08 season, and then being let go during the 2008-09 season.

Robichaud attended Maineiacs training camp as a player that season. After seeing the team’s talent, he knew it was going to be a difficult roster to crack.

“I remember it was one their best teams that they had while they were in Lewiston,” Robichaud said. “So, it was definitely a tough team to try to walk on in that level of a league. It was a great experience, I spent 48 hours (at camp) to keep my college eligibility. You had (goalie Jonathan) Bernier out there, and you had (David) Perron out there, defenseman Chad Denny out there.

“Obviously, it was a high level of hockey, it was a great experience. You could tell from that training camp how strong that team was going to be.”

What Harding remembers most from that team is how deep it was.

“The championship team, we had three first lines and what you would call our fourth line was probably a third line,” Harding said. “We were very talented and we were very balanced and other teams had a hard time matching up against us. It was fun as a coach because we had a lot of power.”

The roster was built prior to the start of the season, and the organization did not make a major move during the season to add any players.

“We relied what we put together the past couple of years,” Harding said. “We talked about a lot of stuff and we could probably have made a few moves, but that funny word that we talked about, chemistry. Chemistry to me is how guys get along, playing hard for each other and having respect for each other. We had that in that locker room.”

One of the key contributors on that team was Perron, who is now with the St. Louis Blues. Robichaud knew what Lewiston was getting in Perron way before he reached the Maineiacs organization.

“It’s funny, I actually knew he was as a player because before that, I think it was (a couple) seasons before, I had played against his team, the St. Jerome Panthers while I was playing for the U16 (Portland) Junior Pirates AAA team,” Robichaud said. “That was the first year the Pirates had that full season midget program. … We played St. Jerome in a showcase; I am pretty certain he had four goals in that game. It was a long time ago, but I think it was a 6-3 hockey game, he had four (goals). You could not notice in his skill set and his ability with the puck.”

LOCAL STANDOUT SELECTED BY THUNDER

This past Thursday, the United States Premier Hockey League held its annual National Collegiate Development Conference Futures Draft for players born in 2004 and 2005.

The Twin City Thunder used two of its six picks on Maine forwards, selecting Lewiston High School freshmen Brock Bergeron and Falmouth native Brock James.

“He has a lot of potential, and he’s having a good year,” Thunder coach Doug Friedman said of Bergeron. “I’ve seen him play the last couple years ,and he’s a kid that has a good head on his shoulders. If he’s half as tough as his sister (former Lewiston standout Bree Bergeron) is, there’s a good chance he will do really well playing for us.”

Brock Bergeron has come on lately for the Blue Devils, notching five of his nine goals in the past four games. He has 13 points in 14 games so far.

The 5-foot-10, 150-pound James is in his second season at Berwick Academy, for which he has six goals and two assists in 20 games this season.

His older brother Carson James suited up for the Thunder last season for a few games.

“We know the family well, we have seen these guys the past few years,” Friedman said. “Brock is getting bigger and stronger. He’s doing well at the prep level and he’s in a great spot at Berwick. (Berwick) coach Jeoff Jarnot does a good job with his guys.”

The other four selections the Thunder made all play in Massachusetts at the prep level: forwards Henry Cohen (Middlesex), James Fisher (Belmont Hill), Michael Stenberg (Thayer Academy) and goalie Justin Katz (Deerfield Academy).

Stenberg has already commited to play at Penn State. The sophomore has seven goals and three assists in 13 reported games. Friedman said Stenberg is a good skater for his age and has a good skill set.

Cohen has 11 goals and four assists in 14 games played. Fisher has a goal and four assists in 18 games as a freshman. No stats are available for Katz.

Friedman said all the players selected on Thursday are at least a few years away from playing in the NCDC, if that is a path they decide to take.

The Thunder organization made a philosophical change in how they selected players, compared to last year when they went for the home run picks.

“We kind of looked at our success rate with our future picks and where those guys (played),” Friedman said. “Last year we had some connections with those players, but for us we would like to have a higher success rate playing for the Thunder in the future.”

One Future pick from last year, Oscar Plandowski, went the QMJHL route, while fellow defenseman Guillame Richard has spent a majority of the season with the Mount St. Charles U16 team in Rhode Island and has played some games at the USHL level. Defenseman Kalle Ervasti is playing in Finland this season.

Forward Riley Ruh is playing with the LA Kings U16 team. Forward Cullen Wilson is with Dexter Academy and defenseman Owen Paskowski is at Cushing Academy, but as a 2004-born player he wasn’t eligible for junior hockey this season.

Friedman said a couple of guys who were selected in the 2019 Futures draft may play for the Thunder next season, but declined to say who.

KANE, GREEN TO REP NORDIQUES

The Maine Nordiques will have two representatives at the North American Hockey League’s Top Prospects Tournament on Feb. 17-18 at the New England Sports Village in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Forwards Noah Kane and Cannon Green will be on the East Division roster.

“They have been at the forefront of everything we are trying to do all season,” Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said. “They have been great team guys, they are on our top penalty killing unit and top power play unit, they are on our first line. They were rewarded for their hard work.”

Kane is the team’s leading scorer with 17 goals and 31 assists in 48 games, which places him sixth in the league.

“Coaches have given me a lot of opportunities and things have been clicking with my linemates and on the power play,” Kane said. “The support behind me has given me the confidence to have that success.”

Green has 17 goals and 24 assists in 45 games.

Green credits Kane for the goals he has scored so far this season.

“I know where he’s going with the puck, so I can beat (the opponents) with my speed to be where I need to be,” Green said.

The L/A Nordiques will have four representatives on the Coastal Division Team in the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, also Feb. 17-18 at the New England Sports Village: Joe Clark, who leads the team with 41 goals and 30 assists in 37 games, as well as Sam Frechette (19 goals and 29 assists in 34 games), Connor Kennedy (11 goals, 31 assists) and goaltender Jason St. Pierre, who has a 11-5 record with a 2.86 goals-against-average and a .908 save percentage.

L/A gead coach Chris Pomerleau will be an assistant coach for the Coastal Division team.


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