Maine Moose take a team picture after defeating the Palmyra Black Knights 4-3 Sunday in York, Pennsylvania.  USPHL photo

Over the weekend, the Maine Moose 18U team that plays out of Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell captured the United States Premier Hockey League 18U American Division title. The Moose defeated the Palmyra Black Knights 4-3 Sunday in York, Pennsylvania in the American final.

Two Lewiston-Auburn area connections were on the team, in Jacob Lewis of Auburn and Nate Marcotte of Sabattus. Lewis had an assist on Cameron Rizzo’s (West Gardiner) game-winning goal in the third period.

“We had a young team and coach (Matt) Lavallee does a good job with that group,” Maine Moose owner and Twin City Thunder co-owner Ben Gray said. “It’s a tough league and I was really impressed with how they went down and played really good hockey and came away with the championship.”

In the final round-robin game against the Northern Cyclones Premier team, the Moose had to do an unusual tactic to get to the championship game, as the tournament featured no overtimes.

“The game was tied with three minutes left, (we) pulled the goalie with the game tied and scored a goal in order to go to the championship (game),” Gray said. “The way the tournament was working, it was goals-for and goals-against scenario. You don’t get to see too many of those scenarios unfold and truly happen. It worked out like it was designed like that way.”

The Cyclones held the tiebreaker over the Moose if the game ended up tied, as the teams both entered the game with a record of 2-0, but the Cyclones only allowed one goal heading into the game and the Moose had allowed four.

Brandon Manning scored the goal that sent the Moose into the championship game as the Moose defeated the Cyclones 4-3.

Just like many teams, the Moose’s schedule was disrupted throughout the year as they only had played six USPHL regular-season games, going 5-1, but played many non-league contests, with some coming against the Maine Nordiques Prep Academy 18U team.

Gray thought the team did a good job with the all the schedule changes of the season.

“After a while, I think they got used to it and they were ready to go at a moment’s notice,” Gray said.

MAINE NORDIQUES PREP ACADEMY 18U PLAYERS SIGN NAHL TENDERS

Maine Nordiques Prep Academy logo

The Maine Nordiques Prep Academy announced recently a slew of players signing North American Hockey League tenders for the 2021-22 season

Four players won’t have to travel far for the NAHL opportunity, as forwards Miles Harrington and Jack Kurrle, defenseman Easton Zueger and goalie Ansel “Gus” Holt all signed with the Maine Nordiques.

Zueger played one game in the NAHL this season with the St. Cloud Norseman and he has eight goals and 21 assists with the Prep Academy. He’s one of the team’s captains, along with Harrington.

“He’s a kid, as long as he doesn’t try to do too much, he’s the best player at any level,” 18U coach Nick Skerlick said. “I think for coach (Nolan) Howe, he has had him on the ice quite a bit for practice and scrimmages. He’s also been on a few road trips with the Maine Nordiques.”

Harrington has been able to adapt his game as the season has gone along.

“The thing with Miles is a kid, when we didn’t have scoring at the beginning of the season, when we had players playing in the USHL and in the (NAHL), Miles was scoring goals,” Skerlick said. “He had 12 goals in 12 games and since we got all those players back I told Miles: ‘Hey buddy, at the end of the day you are going to play in the (NAHL) and you aren’t going to be a goal-scorer. You need to change up your game.’ Miles is a defensive weapon, he’s our best penalty killer, he has the most shot blocks.”

Kurrle is signing a tender for the second straight year with the Nordiques, as the University of Vermont commit has been an all-around player for the 18U team. He’s someone who can play on the top line or play a bottom-six role.

With the depth of the Nordiques NAHL team this year, there wasn’t room for the recently turned 18-year-old. Kurrle has been finding his form lately with regionals around the corner.

“In his last 12 games, he has 14 goals and (he) has the most hits on our team,” Skerlick said. “That’s going to be a kid at the (NAHL) level next year, I believe he will be impactful right away. He has skated every single week with the (NAHL) team.”

Holt, who committed to Army earlier this season, has a 24-3 record with a 1.77 goals-against average and a .93 save percentage.

Two other player,s in forwards Justin Mexico and Anthony Galente, will join the Amarillo Bulls organization that will be relocating to Mason City, Iowa for next season.

Mexico has 14 goals and 25 assists this season.

“Justin Mexico is by far our best two-way center man,” Skerlick said. “He leads our team in points per game, he’s almost at two points per game and he’s a plus-36 in 23 contests.”

Mexico signed a tender with the Bulls last spring also.

Galente leads the Prep Academy team with 23 goals and 21 assists in 34 games.


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