LEWISTON — The script was nearly the same Saturday night as it was Friday night between the Maine Nordiques and Johnstown Tomahawks.

The Nordiques jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and the Tomahawks took over. This time the Tomahawks defeated the Nordiques 7-1 at The Colisee.

“It’s not how we draw it up, but our guys did a great job responding again and finishing a good weekend,” Johnstown coach Mike Letizia said.

Johnstown (30-7-4, 64 points) now has a seven-point advantage over the Nordiques (28-16-1, 57 points) for first place in the North American Hockey League East Division.

“We know the circumstances in the division, especially coming on the road in the division against a really good team. Being able to take four points is a huge step in the right direction for us,” Letizia said. “We have a long way to go. We have to continue to play the right way.”

Drew Murphy had two goals to lead the Tomahawks.

It was déjà vu to start the first period as the Nordiques jumped out to a 1-0 lead early. Maine forward Cannon Green lifted a backhander past Josh Graziano (30 saves) 15 seconds into the game, with forward Makem Demers and defenseman Andrew Noel picking up the assists.

“I think it’s something that we have been focusing on and it’s good to see that’s been executed pretty consistently in both games, but I think it’s about the full 60 minutes,” Nordiques associate head coach Matt Pinchevsky said.

On Friday night, it was Isaiah Fox who scored nine seconds into the game to give the Nordiques a 1-0 lead.

Just like Friday night, Johnstown responded with two goals midway through the first period. Will Margel intercepted a pass in the Tomahawks offensive zone and had a partial breakaway and beat Nordiques goalie Tyriq Outen at the 10:26 mark. The Tomahawks took the 2-1 lead 16 seconds later as Brendan Clark found the back of the net, with the assists going to Jay Ahern and Holt Oliphant.

The Tomahawks extended the lead in the final minute of the first period as Murphy slammed home a rebound in the net from the slot.

“I did a nice, soft chip to Max Neill and he made a little nice, soft pass off the pads and it trickled in,” Murphy said.

Johnstown scored twice more in the second period as Ahearn found the back of the net off an offensive zone faceoff, with Clark setting up the goal just past the eight-minute mark. The lead was extended to 5-1 as Outen thought he stopped an Anthony Mastromonica shot from in tight, but the puck squeaked through Outen’s arm at the 10:39 mark of the middle frame. Caden Lewdowski and Alex Gritz had the assists.

Maine pulled Outen (15 saves) after the goal for the second straight night and Avery Sturtz (16 saves) replaced him.

The third period started with Maine’s Aidan Connolly receiving a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for head contact. Johnstown capitalized as Murphy blasted his second goal of the contest just past the four-minute mark.

Oliphant scored another power-play goal for Johnstown with six minutes remaining in the game, with John Gelatt and Ryan Poorman notching the assists.

Being outscored 15-2 on the weekend, the Nordiques are expecting a hard week of practices before the New Jersey Titans come to The Colisee next Friday and Saturday.

“It’s going to be a work week, it’s going to be a work week for sure,” Pinchevsky said. “It’s going to have a lot of pace, it’s going to have a lot of Zamboni usage to clean up that pace and work, but it’s short memory. We aren’t playing Johnstown next weekend; we are playing the team that’s chasing us. We have to make a statement.”


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