LEWISTON — The Maine Nordiques held an all-star game to close out their North American Hockey League main camp Friday morning at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

The game featured 46 players — each team had 20 skaters and three goalies —  including returning players, draft picks, tenders and free agent invites.

“As we narrow (the roster) down here, you kind of see the cream of the crop,” Maine Nordiques head coach Nolan Howe said. “Obviously, we didn’t have any of our (Prep) Academy players in the game — we are very excited about them in the future. I thought we had a lot of talent on the ice. Now the toughest part of being a coach is making tough decisions.”

Training camp begins Sept. 14.

In the camp all-star game, Team Red defeated Team Blue 5-4 in double overtime (two five-minute periods of 3-on-3 were played after regulation). Returning forward Stefan Owens scored the game-winning goal on a breakaway with less than 10 seconds remaining in the second overtime.

Free agent invitees scored for both teams in the game. Jack Kresl (Colorado Thunderbirds 18U) netted a goal for Team Blue, while Jake Waterman (Holderness School) and David Novotny (Williston Northampton School) scored for Team Red.

“That’s our model going into it, we aren’t concerned if you are a veteran, tender, draft pick or a free agent, I think these guys come in here with legitimate shots to compete,” Howe said. “I think that’s the fun part of competition, having them stack up against each other and see who excels.”

Auburn native Reese Farrell, who was drafted by the Nordiques in the first round of the NAHL Supplemental Draft, scored for Team Red.

In the third period, two returning forwards, Isaiah Fox and Caden Pattison, scored for Team Blue. Also in the third, Connor Wood, who was picked in the NAHL Entry Draft, put the puck in the net for Team Red.

Howe was expecting the returning players and draft picks to step up as the game progressed.

“As the game (winds down), you see the experience of some of those players,” Howe said. “They kind of upped their level (of play) a bit. That’s the fun part, that’s why they are veterans in our league. I thought they showcased and proved themselves very well.”

ANISIMOV PREPS FOR THUNDER CAMP

One familiar face this week was Sergei Anisimov, who has spent the past two seasons with the Tier III L/A Nordiques of North American 3 Hockey League.

Anisimov, who played two games with the Maine Nordiques last year, wasn’t there trying to make the Nordiques, but to prepare for next week’s Twin City Thunder main camp.

L/A’s Sergei Anisimov watches the puck head toward the net after he redirected a slap shot into the net for a goal during a 2018-19 playoff game at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Russ Dilliingham/Sun Journal

“This camp has been mostly practice for me, getting ready for the main camp with Twin City,” Anisimov said. “That has been the main goal this summer, that’s what I have been preparing for.”

Anisimov said he has already signed to play for the Thunder’s Tier II team in the United States Premier Hockey League’s National Collegiate Development Conference. He joined the Thunder last month at the USPHL Summer Showcase that was held in New Hampshire.

The St. Petersburg, Russia, native was looking to make the jump to Tier II hockey full-time after two years with the L/A Nordiques — who have ceased operations — for whom he had 11 goals and 22 assists in 30 games last year after putting up 19 goals and 37 assists in 49 games in 2018-19.

There wasn’t any room on the Maine Nordiques roster for Anisimov in 2020-21.

“The problem is that I am an international player, coming from Russia,” Anisimov said. “So, I only have two years of USA Hockey (experience), which means I am still considered an import, and there can be only four imports on an NAHL team. As I was told, they already have their four import (spots) taken.”

In USA Hockey’s rules, an import is defined as a non-USA citizen who has played less than three consecutive seasons in a USA Hockey-sanctioned league.

The USPHL isn’t sanction by USA Hockey at the junior level and has no restrictions on import players.

Anisimov was grateful to the Nordiques for giving him the opportunity to get ready for Thunder’s camp.

“I do have a great relationship with (the Maine Nordiques), they have great character, great personality,” Anisimov said. “I love Cam Robichaud, he was my coach for the NA3HL team (in 2018-19), he is probably one of the best coaches I met in my life, he’s a great friend when we are off the ice. He has been getting me ready all summer.

“I love (Matt Pinchevsky), he has been treating me very well since I have been here last year (with the Maine Nordiques). He’s very motivational. Eric Soltys (Maine Nordiques general manager), he’s a great guy, he always says hello, he always cheers me up, he always says never to give up.”

GETTING READY FOR PREP ACADEMY

With Sam Frechette and Reese Farrell looking to make the NAHL roster this week, two more players with local ties, Nick Pomerleau and Aaron Higgins, were in camp this week getting ready for the Maine Noridiques Prep Academy season.

This was Pomerleau’s second main camp. The Lewiston native took part in last year’s camp and played for the L/A Nordiques last season when he was second on the team among defensemen in points with four goals and 38 assists in 46 games.

Pomerleau has been working this summer to get ready to play for the Maine Nordiques Prep Academy’s U18 team.

“I have gotten quicker with my play,” Pomerleau said. “A lot has to do with Cam Robichaud, he has been helping me out in the summer as I have been training with him. It’s been good.”

With the U18 team, Pomerleau hopes to make an impression with the organization and earn an opportunity at the NAHL level in 2021, and to start getting looks from college hockey teams.

Higgins, 16, has ties to Lewiston: he grew up in the city before his family moved to Falmouth when he was in fifth grade.

He’s excited to join the Prep Academy after playing a lot of his youth hockey outside the state.

“I never really played in Maine, I have always played outside of Maine,” Higgins said. “It’s good to come back and play hockey in Maine, where I (live).”

He played with the Northern Cyclones 15U team (Hudson, New Hampshire) last year and also played on the Falmouth High School varsity team as a freshman, recording six goals and six assists in 11 games.

Higgins felt the Prep Academy was a better opportunity to improve as a hockey player compared to high school hockey.

“I feel like you are on the ice a lot more, you become a lot better player and there’s better competition, better league,” Higgins said.

ANDROLEWICZ VISITS CAMP

Connor Androlewicz, the first Tier II tender was in the Maine Nordiques’ history, was at camp this week. His young brother Colin was one of the 10 goalies trying out, and his father Steve is an assistant coach with the Prep Academy and a billet dorm master.

Ethan Prout, left, and Samuel Harris of the Nordiques try to give their goaltender Connor Androlewicz a hand on an incoming shot during a game in October 2019. Ron Morin photo

Connor Androlewicz is preparing for his freshman season of college hockey at the University of Maine. He played the first half of last season with the Nordiques before being called up to the Sioux City Musketeers of the Tier I United States Hockey League. He also spent time with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL.

He’s excited for the season, which Hockey East has said it plans to start on time in early October.

“I am trying to be sharp, being ready to go as soon as we play that first game,” Connor Androlewicz said. “These two months that we are going to have, being prepared is going to benefit us a lot. We are going to get our systems down and everybody being sharp, it’s going to be good to have these two months to get ready. I am really pumped to get started there.”

There will be big shoes to fill in the Black Bears crease this season with Mike Richter Award winner — as the nations best goalie — and Hobey Baker finalist Jeremy Swayman having signed with the Boston Bruins this spring.

UMaine also has sophomore Matthew Thiessen (2018 Vancouver Canucks seventh round draft pick), and another freshman, Victor Ostman (Chicago Steel, USHL), coming in.

“It’s going to be great competition; I think that’s every guy looks forward to is competing and earning (playing time),” Androlewicz said. “We are going to have to compete and earn that net.”


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