Mario Duronio gets into position to make a save during a game Tuesday at the Maine Nordiques main camp at Auburn’s Savings Bank Arena. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON— One of the position battles this week at Maine Nordiques main camp is in the crease.

They have plenty of options going into the 2020 season, as the duo of Avery Sturtz and Marco Duronio are looking at returning for their second season with the North American Hockey League club. But they are two of 10 goalies in camp this week.

Gavin Fitzpatrick, who just finished his prep hockey career at Thayer Academy, and Ansel August Holt, who’s signed up for the Maine Nordiques Prep Academy U18 team, are looking make their mark this week.

The goalies like the competition that’s going on at the camp.

“I mean that’s what (teams) got to do, you have to have a good competition between the pipes, it makes everybody better,” Sturtz said..

Duronio, 19, wants to see the goalies he’s batting with bring their “A” game.

“It’s going to be a good competition, I think we are all going to push each other,” Duronio said. “They are a great group of guys. We are going to feed off each other. I am going to focus on my job and keep getting better each day.”

When Fitzpatrick, 18, signed his tender this offseason, he knew he was going to have to earn his spot.

“It’s good to have to have competition, I actually enjoy it,” Fitzpatrick said. “I didn’t really have that much competition at my prep school. I feel when you get pushed, you play better and play the best you can play.”

Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe sees how hard the goalies are working this week.

“I think it has been pretty competitive, they are battling for every puck. We have a lot of good goalscorers here, a lot of active defensemen (so) there has been some high-quality chances,” Howe said. “I think they have done a job competing.”

The team looks to improve on the goalie numbers from last season. Sturtz, 19, was 39th among the 40 qualified goalies for league goals-against-average with 4.32 gaa, and he had a .871 save percentage.

Connor Androlewicz, who was called up to the Tier I United States Hockey League midseason and is playing at the University of Maine this season, was 34th with 3.72 gaa and a .891 save percentage.

Wesley Mankowski, who joined the team when Androlewicz left for the USHL, had a. 3.79 gaa, which was 36th in the league, and an .895 save percentage between his time with the Nordiques and the Minnesota Magicians.

At Thayer, Fitzpatrick appeared in 25 games with a 2.65 gaa and a .917 save percentage. He was drafted by the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the QMJHL American Draft two years ago.

Ansel August Holt, 17, played with the Honeybaked 16U program where he had a 3.71 gaa and a .895 save percentage in 28 games. He has been drafted in  by the USHL’s Youngstown Phamtoms and the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League — one of the three major junior hockey leagues in Canada along with the QMJHL.

Duronio, who split time with the Nordiques and the Maine Nordiques Development Program 18U team that was based in New Jersey last year, did not qualify to be among the NAHL league leaders. He had 2-4-1 record with a 4.25 gaa and a .881 save percentage.

The Nordiques looked to address the goalie position early in the offseason with the tender signing of Kyle Chauvette out of the Loomis Chaffe School (Windsor, Connecticut). Howe said the Holy Cross commit was not at camp this week because he has made a USHL team but didn’t elaborate which team Chauvette made.

With three games at camp on Tuesday and Wednesday at Norway Savings Bank Arena, and another four games Thursday at the Nordiques home rink — the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston — the 10 goalies at camp had a limited amount of time in the crease this week. Each goalie got one half of action in each game their team played in.

“You have to show what you got in that one half and when you are out there give it everything you got,” Sturtz said.

The goalies are used to the main camp setup, so the limited time in goal is nothing new for them.

“It’s definitely tough when you come (into the game) second, you get bombarded with shots. But I am fine with it,” Fitzpatrick said. “You do this every year when you are younger when you are trying out for things like this. You get used to it.”

Fitzpatrick was at the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) camp last week.

While some goalies are trying to make the team this season, some goalies who are free agent invitees, such as Colin Androlewicz. The 16-year-old brother of Connor Androlewicz is at camp this week for the experience before attending the New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire, where he will be a junior.

The younger Androlewicz is looking to improve his techniques during his stay.

“(I am) definitely watching the speed, definitely watching the puck and making sure I am at the right angle,” Colin Androlewicz said. “These shots are a lot faster I am used to.”

Howe believes every goalie at camp has a shot at making the team.

“I think everyone here is here to compete and make the North American Hockey League team,” Howe said. “If they are here, they are a here for a reason. I think everyone is working as hard as they can. It’s certainly a fun environment, I think the talent level is tremendous. We are certainly excited about the team we are putting together this season.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.