The Maine Nordiques showed some rust Friday night and dropped a 4-1 decision to the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks in a NAHL East Division contest at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

The Nordiques were coming off a 10-day layoff since their last game.

Maine coach Nolan Howe said he expects a better performance Saturday against the Hat Tricks.

“It starts with poor line changes and goes to our special teams,” Howe said. “It’s a few games in a row now that we have given up a goal on our (penalty kill), that’s unacceptable. At the end of the day we have to be better from top-to-bottom. (Tonight) was a case of a group of young men having to learn a tough lesson and we certainly expect them to respond tomorrow.”

Friday is the first time Nordiques faced Danbury — the Jr. Hat Tricks relocated from Wilkes-Barre Scranton, Pennsylvania — this season. Previous matchups on Election Day and in the middle of November were postponed.

The Nordiques (18-10-1, 39 points) have gone 5-4-1 in the past 10 games and still remains two points behind the Johnstown Tomahawks (18-5-3, 39 points) for first place in the East Division.

“We put in work here every day and it is much bigger than just one hockey game,” Howe said. “We are not going to (read) too much into it, we are going to  prepare again for tomorrow evening. That’s the fun part, we get to go play again. We have a committed group of coaches, players and staff here. It starts with me, but from top to bottom we will be better tomorrow.”

Shane Murphy potted two goals and an assist for Danbury (9-7-1, 19 points,) while Porter Schachle and Mark D’Agostino each had a goal and an assist.

The Hat Tricks scored two goals in the middle of the second period to open up the scoring.

Murphy scored at the 8:32 mark, set up by Nolan Barrett and Andrew Eberling. One minute later, Schachle, a University of Vermont commit, tallied his team-leading 10th goal of the season. The assist went to D’Agostino.

Maine  responded when Colorado College commit Patrick Schmiedlin notched his third goal since joining the Nordiques from the United States Hockey League’s Omaha Lancers, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Cannon Green and James Philpott had the helpers.

Schmiedlin had a team-high six shots on net.

Howe said he liked the quick response after Danbury scored the two goals.

“It’s something we focused on all year,” Howe said. “It cost use last year as an expansion franchise, and some of our guys on our roster (this year) went through that. There’s a lot of positive messaging going on when those kind of things happen, and sticking with it and going to back what earns us our success.”

Danbury outshot Maine 20-8 in the second period.

D’Agostino added an insurance marker on a power play a little over four minutes remaining in the game. Schachle and Murphy notched the assists.

Murphy added an empty net goal in the final minute.

Josh Seeley made 25  saves for the Jr. Hat Tricks. Nordiques goalie Ty Outen stopped 32 shots.

The teams meet again Saturday night at the Colisee at 7 p.m., and then 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.


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