The Maine Nordiques frustrated the Maryland Black Bears with relentless puck pressure Monday afternoon.

The Nordiques defeated the Black Bears 4-1 in a North American Hockey League East Division contest at the Ice World Arena in Edgewood, Maryland.

“Everything, in terms of momentum and sustained momentum, was rooted from our forecheck,” Maine Nordiques associate head coach Matt Pinchevsky said. “Our forecheck was fabulous, and it started in one big-time wave from the Cannon Green, Makem Demers and Patrick Schmiedlin line. It followed right down the lineup.”

Luke Antonacci opened the scoring for the Nordiques (17-9-1, 35 points), scoring the only goal of the first period with seven minutes remaining. The goal was set up by James Philpott and Jack Strauss.

Maine struck twice in the second period. First, Sacred Heart commit Aidan Connolly notched his third goal of the season off of a setup from Cooper Swift and Strauss.

Later in the frame, Maine defenseman Andrew Noel found University of Maine commit Tyler Gaulin with a long pass, and Gaulin beat Maryland goalie Hannes Kollen (34 saves) for his eighth goal of the season to put Maine up 3-0.

Pinchevsky was pleased with Swift, Noel and the Nordiques’ other defenseman.

“It was a complete effort from the back end, following the lead of (Avery) Sturtz in the net,” Pinchevsky said. “Kaden Johnson was in the lineup and seeing a little more minutes in different situations. I thought he did a good job, being a plus-1 today.”

Johnson is a call-up from the Maine Nordiques Academy 18U team. With the 18U team this season he has scored eight goals and notched 24 assists in 35 games.

Forward Patrick Schmiedlin, one of the Nordiques’ most recent additions, scored his second goal in three games with the team to give the Nordiques a 4-0 lead in the middle of the third period.

Maine Nordiques goalie Avery Sturtz’s shutout bid ended with 2:15 remaining in the game, on a goal by Black Bears forward Aden Bruich.

Sturtz made 31 saves for the victory. Pinchevsky said the goalie is attracting interest from Division I college programs.

“(The team) wanted to play for Sturtz and that famous word that starts with a ‘s’ and ends with a ‘t,’” Pinchevsky said, referring to “shutout.” “Bottom line, they played really hard and it gives that room for improvement, it gives them something to be hungry tomorrow to not stop and keep going with the momentum they have created.”

The Nordiques face the Black Bears (12-7-5, 29 points) again on Tuesday at noon.


Over the weekend the Nordiques made a trade with the Odessa Jackalopes of the South Division, acquring Hunter Carrick for a second-round draft pick.

The 2000-born defenseman from Orland Park, Illinois, had two goals and four assists in 24 games with the Jackalopes this season. Carrick is in his fourth year of junior hockey, having also played in the United States Hockey League and the National Collegiate Development Conference.

Head coach Nolan Howe, who did not coach Monday, said a team wanting to make a deep postseason run can never have too many veteran defensemen on its roster.

“To win in the playoffs, our goal is to not just be there, but to win. As everybody saw (Sunday) in the Super Bowl, as great as Tom Brady was, it was the defensive line and the pressure that was put on Patrick Mahomes, who’s an elite player,” Howe said. “It was a great schematic design by the Buccaneers coaching staff. We think Hunter Carrick provides us another opportunity to defend and another stalwart on the back end.”

Carrick becomes the second former Jackalopes player to join a Twin Cities-based junior hockey team, following Eamon Doheny, who left Odessa to join the Twin City Thunder of the NCDC a few weeks ago.

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