Northeast Generals goaltender Joey Stanizzi stops a shot by Isaiah Fox (9) of the Maine Nordiques during a game on Oct. 9 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Ron Morin photo

Isaiah Fox wants to bring his experience to the Long Island University Sharks.

The Maine Nordiques forward announced this week that he has committed to play hockey at the school next season. Long Island is the newest NCAA Division I hockey program, preparing for its first season of college hockey this winter.

Fox believes his two years with the Nordiques makes the school a perfect fit for him as he enters college hockey next season.

“It’s definitely unique, especially coming from the Maine Nordiques being a new team last year,” Fox said. “It’s going to be cool going over there to start something new and build off that.”

Another reason Fox chose LIU as his college destination is it’s location — it’s just outside New York City — since, as a Montreal native, Fox is used to living in a big city. He said that he plans to study business.

Fox’s second season with the Nordiques is off to a strong start. In seven games, he has four goals and five assists, and his nine points ties for second in the entire North American Hockey League — one point behind teammate Tyler Gaulin, who committed to the University of Maine last week, and Clayton Cosentino of the Aberdeen Wings.

Fox was named the NAHL East Division Player of the Week on Monday after tallying three goals and three assists against the New Jersey Titans in a three-game series that was swept by the Nordiques.

Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said Fox has grown on and off the ice during his time with the organization.

“He has matured as a person and player; you see it in his game, his commitment to his teammates and commitment to doing the things the right way,” Howe said. “We have been the benefactors of him having a really strong season, and I expect it to continue.”

Isaiah Fox of Team Blue and Luke Antonacci of Team Red battle for position in front of Red goaltender David Filak during the Maine Nordiques main camp all-star game at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Friday, August 14, 2020. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Fox said the Sharks coaching staff likes the edge he brings on the ice.

“I think they like my grit and the type of player that I am,” Fox said. “It makes me different from a lot of other players, as I play with a lot of speed and I can use my body, I have a pretty good skill set. That’s what they are looking for me to do.”

Last year, Fox racked up 192 penalty minutes in 50 games. So far this season, he has only 10 penalty minutes in seven games.

Fox said he had other Division I college offers, but LIU made a push earlier this week to get his commitment.

“Their assistant coaches texted me a little bit ago and basically we have been talking a little bit now,” Fox said. “It all kind of unfolded Monday morning when they officially offered me, and I kind of decided to go with them. I felt it was a good fit for me.”

Long Island University is currently an independent team with no conference affiliation. They did enter into a scheduling agreement with the Atlantic Hockey Conference for the upcoming season.

The Sharks head coach is Brett Riley, the nephew of Brian Riley, Army’s head coach. Army recently received a commitment from Maine Nordiques Academy 18U goaltender Ansel “Gus” Holt.

THUNDER GAMES POSTPONED; NORDIQUES PLANNING TO PLAY

The Twin City Thunder’s USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference games against the Jersey Hitmen, P.A.L. Islanders and Philadelphia Hockey Club have been postponed. The games were going to be a part of the Boston Jr. Bruins Shootout in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Last Thursday, Massachusetts Department of Public Health shut down hockey rinks in the state for two weeks as coronavirus cases continue to rise from hockey activities in the state.

This season has been a lot of stop-and-go for the Thunder. Their first two games of the season against on Sept. 25-26 were postponed when a few Twin City players tested positive for coronavirus. Then games at a showcase in New Hampshire in early October postponed as well while the Thunder were still in quarantine.

The team returned to the ice on Oct. 8 for a practice, but their Oct. 10 home game against the Boston Advantage was postponed as a precaution after the Maine Department of Human Services sent a letter to the Maine Amateur Hockey Association of potential consequences if the MEAHA doesn’t follow the state’s community sports guidelines. The state lists hockey as moderate-risk sport, which means only practices should be taking place under the community sports guidelines.

The Thunder and Advantage played on Oct. 11 in Massachusetts with the Advantage winning 2-0. Twin City decided to play its home games Oct. 1617 against the South Shore Kings since junior hockey isn’t governed by MEAHA and the team didn’t hear from the state saying they couldn’t play.

While the state announced last week that professional and college teams’ return to play will be governed by their leagues and conferences, Maine DHHS spokeswoman Jackie Farewell told the Sun Journal that junior hockey programs should be following Maine’s community sports guidelines.

The Thunder also had home games last week against the Advantage and the Islanders Hockey Club, and lost both.

Twin City will make up one of the two games postponed in September against the Jr. Monarchs on Tuesday at Norway Savings Bank Arena.  The two teams also play next weekend, Nob. 6 in Hooksett, New Hampshire, and Nov. 7 in Auburn.

“Mental toughness will be the key to the season,” Thunder co-owner and NCDC coach Dan Hodge said of all the schedule changes. “It’s who’s mentally tough, from coaches and players.”

The Maine Nordiques are planning to play their NAHL home games against the Northeast Generals at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Friday and Saturday.

The Generals are based in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Massachusetts teams have been playing out-of-state games this week.

Howe said all safety precautions are being followed.

“At this point we have followed all the safety protocol, as have the Northeast Generals,” Howe said. “We feel confident that we can provide a save environment for the players and the staff. At this point, we are all systems go.”

This weekend is the second time the Generals have come to Lewiston. The Nordiques swept a two-game set Oct. 910.

BLOMQUIST BACK IN L-A

Christian Blomquist, who played with the Twin City Thunder’s NCDC team last season, returned to the Twin Cities this past weekend as a member of the New Jersey Titans for their three-game series against the Nordiques.

He was excited to see some familiar faces over the weekend.

“It feels good. Obviously, it’s a different rink, but I got to see a couple of my old teammates from last year, my old billet family, but it felt good,” Blomquist said after Sunday’s game.

Blomquist who was a draft pick of the Thunder in 2019, was the team’s second-leading scorer with 24 goals and 26 assists in 50 games. He signed a tender with the Titans this offseason.

Twin City Thunder forward Christian Blomquist, center, attempts to receive a pass in front of the net next to South Shore Kings goalie Eric Voloshin, left, and Alex Carrothers, right, during the 2019-20 season. RAM Sports photography

So far, Blomquist has only appeared in three games for the Titans, recording one assist. He played in Friday’s 6-1 loss to the Nordiques, then didn’t appear in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss or in Sunday’s 4-3 loss.

Blomquist said he’s working through the transition from the NCDC to the NAHL.

“It’s been challenging, but I have responded to it,” Blomquist said. “I am really happy on what (Titans coach) Craig Doremus and the owners are doing here. “

Doremus said Blomquist needs to focus on the little things if he wants to have the success he had last year with the Thunder.

“I think Christian is starting to understand how hard the league is to play in,” Doremus said after Sunday’s game. “The attention to detail that comes to be a successful player in this league on and off the ice. I think he has a bright future, but he’s going through the growing pains like some of the other players are.”

 

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