The Maine Nordiques offense produced early and often in the first of three games this weekend against the Northeast Generals at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Isaiah Fox led the attack with two goals and an assist, and six other Nordiques players score goals in a 8-3 victory Friday in a North American Hockey League East Division junior hockey contest.

“It’s something we have been working on, and I mean this with all due respect, when we have a team on the ropes, just like Muhammad Ali in this building, if you can knock out a guy out, you go for it,” Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said.

Howe is referring to the infamous “Phantom Punch” that took place at the Colisee — then known as the Central Maine Youth Center — when Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in the first round of their heavyweight title fight on May 25, 1965.

The Nordiques (21-10-1, 43 points) scored twice in the opening five minutes. Tyler Gaulin opened the scoring with a goal at the 1-minute, 43-second mark that was set up by defensemen James Philpott and Hunter Carrick. Patrick Schmiedlin then stretched the lead to 2-0. Schmiedlin’s linemates Cannon Green and Demers assisted on the goal.

Maine scored twice more in the final three minutes of the first period. First, Demers finding the back of the net, with assists recorded by Fox and Gaulin. Auburn native Reese Farrell and Army commit put home the Nordiques’ fourth goal off a helper by Aidan Connolly.

Generals’ goaltender Hugo Haas was pulled after the first period, having allowed four goals on 16 shots. Anton Castro, who has committed to play at Boston University, relieved Haas, and made 17 saves over the final two periods.

The Nordiques’ offense started the second-period scoring even faster than the first, as Ignat Belov scored 49 seconds in. Fox added a goal nearly three minutes later on a power play. Cooper Swift and Casper Soderling were credited with assists on the Fox’s goal, which pushed the lead to 6-0.

The Nordiques were 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Generals went scoreless on seven chances.

Northeast (11-21-3, 25 points) started to chip away at the deficit, as Jake Hosszu and Matthew Boczar scored to put the Generals on the board in the second period.

Dylan Schuett scored the Generals third straight goal midway through the third period, cutting the Nordiques’ lead to 6-3.

“I felt like when we went up 6-0, we (took) our foot off the gas, which is human nature,” Howe said. “But then they scored a few, and again they were our mistakes, and that’s great as a coach, we get to go back and grow from those things. For us to rebound there in the third and win the third period was good momentum heading into tomorrow.”

Maine put the game away in the final five minutes of the contest. Fox netted his second goal of the contest, on which Gaulin and Swift earned their second assists of the game. Ty Matthews then capped the scoring with his second goal of the season.

Matthews was the team’s 13th forward and was able to jump in and play on the line with Demers and Green.

“What’s so great about our team, and something I am really proud of, is Patrick Schmiedlin, a point-per-game player, I looked at him and said, ‘I am going to sit you down here, Ty is going out for a shift,’” Howe said. “It wasn’t, ‘Why are you doing that coach?’ It was like, ‘Hell yeah, give him a shift,’ and (Ty) goes out and scores. The whole bench goes bananas, even though it’s the eighth goal in a game that we are going to win.”

Nordiques netminder Tyriq Outen stopped 43 shots for his 12th victory of the season.

The teams meet again Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Colisee. The Nordiques will be considered the away team for the second straight game due to the Generals having played 22 straight games away from the New England Sports Village in Attleboro, Massachusetts, since the interstate hockey ban among New England states and New Jersey began in November — and has since been extended until March 31. The Nordiques will be the home team when the teams finish the weekend series Sunday at 11:30 a.m.


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