Maine Nordiques’ Kylar Fenton looks around for a teammate as Wilkes-Barre Scranton’s Sutton McDonald bears down on him during a junior hockey game in November at the Colisee in Lewiston. The Nordiques have traded Fenton to Chippewa. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The Maine Nordiques and Twin City Thunder both made roster moves this week.

The Nordiques added defenseman Andrius Kulbis-Marino on Friday and traded defenseman Kylar Fenton to the Chippewa Steel, receiving a draft pick in return.

Kulbis-Marino, 19, was a Nordiques tender last spring but was selected by the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League, the lone Tier I junior hockey league in the country, in the ninth round of its entry draft. Kulbis-Marino, who is committed to play at Sacred Heart University, went on to make the Storm out of training camp.

“You don’t want to use all your tenders on guys that are going to make the USHL, because essentially you didn’t get anyone for your tender,” Maine Nordiques associate head coach Cam Robichaud said. “But players that are right on that bubble that do end up in the North American Hockey League, you can see they will be a high-end player within the league if they are on the bubble of the NAHL and USHL.”

Robichaud said there’s some familiarity since Kulbis-Marino took part in the Maine Nordiques pre-draft camp in late May, and some of the team’s players have kept in contact with Kulbis-Marino throughout the season.

With the Storm, Kulbis-Marino had five assists in 32 games. With Albany Academy last season the Methuen, Massachusetts, native scored 10 goals and recorded 13 assists in 32 games.

“He’s a very dynamic skater, he moves the puck well and I think he’s good in all aspects of the game,” Robichaud said. “I think his skating ability will bring some more offense to our (defensive) core. With the same token, his skating ability will allow him to be a good defender.”

To make room for Kulbis-Marino, the Nordiques traded Fenton within the North American Hockey League to the Chippewa Steel of the Midwest Division.

“We felt like that was a good spot for him, after discussing with him and allowing him to continue to be in the North American Hockey League,” Robichaud said. “It allowed him to be on a team that will be in the playoffs and it allows him to be in his home state.

“There’s a lot of positives. We are an organization that when players are moved, we want to help them, we always want to have an option for them. It’s a great situation where he can continue to develop and chase his dream of playing at the collegiate level.”

With the Nordiques, the 19-year-old Fenton scored a goal and had 13 assists in 40 games this season.

Fenton was the Nordiques’ fourth-round pick in last spring’s NAHL draft. Last season he spent time in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines, the same team that Lewiston native Alex Rivet signed with after being released by the Nordiques earlier this season. With the Wolverines last season, Fenton had six goals and 12 assists for the Wolverines.

Fenton was also a draft pick of the Twin City Thunder in this past spring’s USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference draft.

On Wednesday, the L/A Nordiques of the NA3HL added forward Jackson Vercellono from the North Iowa Bulls, who whom he tallied eight goals and 12 assists in 21 games. The Laconia, New Hampshire, native also spent two games with the St. Cloud Bizzard of the NAHL, recording no points.

THUNDER MAKE TRADE

Looking to shore up their roster for a playoff run, the Twin City Thunder also made a trade this week.

The organization’s NCDC team acquired defenseman Andy Antiles and forward Lucas Kucera from the South Shore Kings. In return, the Thunder send a 2020 tender, a 2020 second-round draft pick in the NCDC Entry Draft and their first- and second-round draft picks in the 2021 NCDC Futures Draft.

Both Antiles and Kucera started the season with the Utica Jr. Comets, also of the NCDC.

“Fortunately, we didn’t have to give up any players, there were a couple of draft picks involved,” Thunder head coach Doug Friedman said. “They are both going to be good additions down the stretch, I feel and they will help strengthen our team.”

Antiles, 19, of South Orange, New Jersey, is committed to Middlebury College. He has a goal and 18 assists this season.

The 6-foot-1, 196-pound defenseman played in Canada last season with the Cochrane Crunch of the Northern Ontario Hockey League, recording a goal and two assists in 11 games. He also appeared in one game with the Victoria Grizzles of the British Columbia Hockey League.

“He strengthens the blue line and he gives us a lot of good choices,” Friedman said. “He’s a strong skater, he’s a smart defensemen, head’s up, gets the game, makes good reads and he’s going to be a nice addition.”

Kucera, 20 of Praha, Czech Republic, accumulated nine goals and 21 assists in 36 games between the Comets and Kings.

Friedman said the team couldn’t pass up acquiring another forward that he said will strengthen the roster.

“As a team you are always looking to improve, and these guys came available. It was an easy decision for us,” Friedman said.

The 5-foot-11, 187-pound Kucera is also well-traveled. He started last season with the Connecticut Jr. Ranger’s Premier team before moving to the Ogden Mustangs of the Western States Hockey League and then finishing with the Springfield Jr. Blues of the NAHL.


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