After a tough defeat Thursday night, the Maine Nordiques needed overtime Friday afternoon as they earned a 3-2 win over the Maryland Black Bears in a North American Hockey League East Division contest at Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewistion.

The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Nordiques.

“It’s very rewarding in our organization when guys are doing things the right away,” Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said. “I want to emphasize that point, when guys do things the right way, they are rewarded because of that. So, it was a huge win for our team, it was a gut-check win. I was very proud of us stepping up to the challenge.”

Maine (13-8-1, 27 points) had three different goal-scorers and Jackson Vercellono led the team with a goal and an assist.

Stefan Owens scored his eighth goal of the season 17 seconds into the extra session. His linemate Isaiah Fox and defenseman Casper Soderling had the assists on the game-winning goal.

The Nordiques took a 1-0 lead when Vercellono scored his first goal of the season at the 12:35 mark. Defenseman Andrew Noel picked up the assist.

Maryland (11-5-3, 25 points) responded four minutes later as Josh Nixon also scored his first goal of the season, with Bryan Huggins setting the tally up.

After a scoreless second period, Hunter McCoy scored his third goal in the past two days against the Nordiques as the Black Bears went up 2-1 with just under seven minutes remaining in the third period.

“They kept trying to steal momentum from us and we didn’t allow that to happen,” Howe said. “Even when they scored late in the third, there was belief on our bench if we did things the right way we would be rewarded.”

Vercellono added his second point of the afternoon as he assisted on Tristan Fasig’s tying goal with under four minutes remaining in the third period. Ty Matthews also had an assist.

Avery Sturtz made 27 saves in the win, while Michael Morelli stopped 29 Nordique shots.

Maine travels down to Maryland next Friday and Saturday.

“It was a hard-fought game. I can’t stress that enough how talented Maryland is, how well they are coached,” Howe said. “You could tell they knew what we were trying to do. We worked throughout the night to counterattack it. It’s a credit to the staff, (coaches, trainers, equipment managers), it was such a team effort.”

NORDIQUES ADD DEFENSEMAN

The Maine Nordiques added defenseman Luke Busby to the roster last Sunday.

The 18-year-old, Eden Prairie, Minnesota native joins the Nordiques from the Coquitlam Express of the British Columbia Hockey League, but the BCHL regular season hasn’t gotten underway and the league won’t start until at least February.

The 5-foot-11, 179-pound Busby is someone the Nordiques hope to have in the lineup the next few years.

“He’s a left shot, so we have some outstanding 2002 (born) right-shot defensemen, both on our NAHL team and on our U18 (Maine Nordiques Prep Academy) program,” Howe said. “We have some left-hand guys that will be leaving the building, as far as their age. It was important for us to get a quality human being in Luke Busby, and since he got here he has been a team-first guy.”

Cooper Swift and James Philpott are two left-shot defensemen who will age out of junior hockey after this season.

Busby appeared in last Sunday’s game against the Northeast Generals and Thursday’s game against the Black Bears. He sat out Friday’s game as the Nordiques dressed 13 forwards instead of seven defensemen.

There has been a mass exodus of players from the BCHL to leagues in the United States, like the NAHL, NCDC and the United States Hockey League, prior to the Jan. 10 transfer deadline between American and Canadian junior leagues.

Last season with Eden Prairie High School, Busby had a goal and six assists in 31 games.


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