Nordiques goaltender Avey Sturtz watches teammate Casper Soderling keep Nikita Asylaev away from the front of the net during first-period action Thursday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Ron Morin photo

LEWISTON — The Maine Nordiques simply ran out of time.

Maine’s third-period comeback just came up short in a 6-5 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Thursday.

“I was hoping (the clock) would strike zero 10 seconds earlier, or two minutes earlier,” Knights general manager and coach Tom Kowal said. “Maine has speed and a lot of offense. We knew what we were going up against. We got caught up trying to play their game, a run-and-gun game, and we aren’t a run-and-gun hockey team.

Egor Postnov had two goals, his second giving the Knights a 5-3 lead near the start the third period.

After the Nordiques (20-31-2, 42 points) went scoreless on their first three power plays, Ethan Prout scored on their fourth to cut the deficit to 5-4 with under eight minutes remaining in the game.

Tyrone Bronte regained the Knights’ two-goal lead 31 seconds later when he deflected in a Lincoln Hatten shot. It was Bronte’s second of the game. His first also was on a deflection.

Tipping in goals has been a theme for Bronte this season.

“Funny, but yeah, this year (it has been),” Bronte said.

Filip Lofdahl went top-shelf to get the Nordiques within one goal with 1:16 remaining.

Nordiques forward Emmanuel Sanchez battles Liam Haslam of the Knights for a lively puck along the boards in first period action at the Colisee on Thursday. Ron Morin photo

Soderling also had a goal in the second period. His family and Casper Soderling’s family traveled from Sweden to watch this week’s games at the Colisee.

“I know they were excited,” Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said. “Those two guys have been coming on strong. Casper was a nominee for defenseman of the month (for February). Filip, since coming back from his injuries, has gotten better and better.

“Certainly, (they are) huge pieces coming back next season, and we are happy their efforts got rewarded in front of their families.”

The Nordiques didn’t take their timeout after the goal, instead waiting for a potential offensive zone faceoff to use it. That faceoff never came as they struggled to get the puck out of their own zone in the final minute.

The Knights (25-21-5, 55 points) controlled the early part of the game, putting seven shots on goal in the first two-and-a-half minutes. Nordiques goalie Avery Sturtz (34 saves) was on his game early on and made a couple of point-blank saves.

The sixth shot of the game came from Shane Murphy. Sturtz reflexively kicked the rebound right to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Beck Moore in the left circle, and Moore sent the puck into the half-open net at the 2:28 mark.

“We looked like a NHL hockey team for the first eight minutes of the hockey game,” Kowal said. “Then we looked like a pee-wee hockey team for the last 10 minutes of the first period. But we have been on the road a lot lately, (so) to come out with a road victory — — I don’t care how we do it, I will take (the two points).”

The Nordiques struggled to generate offense early on as their first two shots on net were dump-ins on Knights goalie Zach Stejskal.

Maine tied the game when defender Andrius Kulbis-Marino skated around the net and found a small opening between Stejskal (35 saves) and the post to tie the game at 1-1.

The Knights score twice in a 65-second span in the second period. Postnov skated down the left wing and beat Sturtz cleanly for a 2-1 lead. Then Bronte’s first tip-in goal came at the 6:06 mark.

Sturtz argued that he was interfered with as there was bodies at the top the crease. The referees got together and determined it was a goal.

“I just tried to get to the front of the net and make some traffic for our defenseman to have a good lane to shoot and take away the goalie’s eyes,” Bronte said. “Next thing you know, the puck goes into the net. Sometimes that happens.”

Andrius Kulbis-Marino of the Nordiques watches goaltender Avery Sturtz make a save on a shot by Knights forward Tyrone Bronte. Ron Morin photo

Only 22 seconds later Kevin Pitts got the Nordiques within one.

Soderling finished off a nice play by Tim Kent after Kent went end-to-end and found Soderling in the slot with 5:50 remaining in the middle period to even the score, 3-3.

Kent had three assists in the game.

“Those guys are playing their last little bit of junior hockey here and certainly leaving everything out there,” Howe said of Kent and Pitts. “They are trying to pull the team in the right direction. I know it means a lot to them and it means a lot to everybody in that room. Those guys did a good job leading by example tonight.”

The Knights responded quickly, as 62 seconds after Soderling’s goal as Lincoln Hatten put the Knights up 4-3.


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