The mountain was too high to climb for the Maine Nordiques on Friday afternoon.

Luke Mountain, a University of Vermont commit, had a hat trick as the Maryland Black Bears defeated the Nordiques 4-1 in a North American Hockey League East Division contest at the Ice World in Englewood, Maryland.

He had an assist in Thursday’s game, which the Nordiques won in a shootout, and last Friday’s loss to the Nordiques in Lewiston.

It’s the second straight week the teams earned a split, as the Black Bears defeated Maine last Thursday.

“We came in a strong positive frame of mind,” Maine Nordiques associate head coach Matt Pinchevsky said. “The best thing that could have happened to us today was giving up that first goal against because it woke everybody up and upped everybody’s senses a little bit.”

Pinchevsky was acting as head coach with head coach Nolan Howe out with the birth of his second child.

Mountain opened the scoring two minutes into the game, with Josh Waters picking up his assist.

Luke Antonacci got the Nordiques on the board near the nine-minute mark of the first period, with Makem Demers and Jack Strauss setting the goal up.

“One of our keys to the game was getting second and third attempts on the initial shot,” Pinchevsky said. “I believe that was a Tyler Gaulin shot, Strauss or Demers got another touch on it for a second attempt and for the third attempt everybody knew Luke was (shooting the puck) in the net because he collapsed down, he saw a loose puck and pounced on the opportunity.”

Mountain scored the lone two goals in the second period to gave the Black Bears a 3-1 lead. The first of the two came five and half minutes into the period. Waters and Hunter McCoy had the assists. Mountain scored an unassisted marker just past the 11-minute mark.

Pinchevsky said those two goals can be prevented.

“I think as a unit we could have prevented the second and third goals against as a team,” Pinchevsky said. “But again, when you chop up the flow and starting going to the box, the guys are sitting there cold and it’s hard to get into a rhythm. We need to regain our focus and get in a flow of attacking them wave after wave.”

Aden Bruich stretched Maryland’s lead to 4-1 in the third period, with Jude Kurtas and Philip Tornqvist collecting the assists.

Both teams were scoreless on the power play, with the Nordiques going 0-for-6 while the Black Bears were 0-for-4.

The Nordiques are back on the road next week as they take on the New Jersey Titans next Friday and Saturday. The Nordiques met the Titans for three games in Lewiston in October as they earned the sweep.

The players were excited to play in Maryland the past two days and are ready for another road series next weekend.

“It was a first road trip in a while,” Pinchevsky said. “I feel like it wasn’t ‘Wow, Maryland is a strange place to play,’ it was the first road trip in a while. We could have been going to Hawaii, they were excited and look forward to playing in someone else’s barn.”


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