New Jersey Titans goalie Christian Stoever, right, makes the initial save on a shot from the point as his teammate Caleb Price makes sure Maine Nordiques player Cannon Green can’t shovel the rebound into the net during the first period of Friday night’s game in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — The Maine Nordiques struggles continued Friday night at The Colisee.

Jake LaRusso scored two of the New Jersey Titans’ four goals in the second period, propelling them to a 7-3 victory in a North American Hockey League East Division game.

New Jersey goalie Christian Stoever and Maine Nordiques’ Ignat Belov battle for the puck on a shot from the point during the first period of Friday night’s game at The Colisee in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

New Jersey snapped a six-game losing streak with the win, while the Nordiques have lost four in a row.

LaRusso also set up a pair of goals and finished the game with four points.

“I was feeling pretty good tonight, my teammates were picking me up,” LaRusso said. “I have been struggling lately, to have that (game) felt pretty good and the team winning it feels even better.”

Maine has given up a first-period lead in three straight games. The Johnstown Tomahawks came back from early deficits twice last weekend.

“The (players) get all the credit when they have success; if we have any setbacks that comes back to myself, I am leading them right now,” Maine Nordiques associate head coach Matt Pinchevsky said. “I got to be better. I have to make sure I can better prepare our team to play 60-minutes.”

Following Friday’s loss, Maine (28-17-1, 57 points) how holds an eight-point lead over the Titans (21-16-7, 49 points) for second place in the East Division.

“We knew they were going to come out (strong). They are like us a bit, they are struggling and reeling a little bit,” Titans coach Craig Doremus said. “You had to figure their response was going to be loud. I thought our guys did a good job by responding, finding a way to hang tight there until we got our legs under us. I was proud of our guys.”

The Nordiques jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the first period as Patrick Schmiedlin skated hard from the left circle, used a power move to get by the defender and fired a shot that squirted past Titans goalie Christian Stoever (23 saves).

New Jersey tied the game up just past the midway point of the first period as Blake Humphrey set up Matt Doyle, who fired a shot from the slot that got past Maine goalie Tyriq Outen.

“It has been a tough time for us finding the back of the net, so any time you get a guy like Matt, who means a lot to the team, can contribute offensively — the boys rallied around (the goal),” Doremus said.

Isaiah Fox put the Nordiques up 2-1 in the final three minutes of the first. Fox received a Andrew Noel pass, skated down the right side and ripped a shot past Stoever.

As Fox was celebrating the goal, his future teammate at Long Island University and former Twin City Thunder player Levente Keresztes shoved Fox. Keresztes was given a two-minute minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Titans had a strong second period while the Nordiques found themselves in penalty trouble, as Fox and defenseman Casper Soderling received two-minute minors.

Maine Nordiques goalie Tyrig Outen denies New Jersey’s Blake Humphrey during the first period of Friday night’s hockey game at The Colisee in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

New Jersey tied the game up at 2-2 while Soderling was in the box. Cade Penny set up LaRusso, who put home a loose rebound a little past the six-minute mark.

“Our power play was buzzing, just having chemistry just all throughout the ice,” LaRusso said. “Practicing all week in practice, I felt we had a pretty good week. Just leading that into the game felt pretty good to achieve that.”

The Titans were 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Nordiques went 1-for-7.

Five minutes later, Humphry received a cross-ice pass from LaRusso and beat Outen, who was unable to get across the crease in time to make the save.

LaRusso added his second goal of the period when he skated toward Outen (21 saves) and then went to the backhand and slid the puck into the goal.

With Jack Strauss in the box for the Nordiques, Zach Nazzarett scored another power play goal for the Titans. LaRusso and Caleb Price had the assists.

Penalty trouble continued for the Nordiques in the third period, Kerezstes earned his second penalty of the game, but about 30 seconds later, Maine’s Cannon Green was called for slashing. While the teams were playing 4-on-4, Jack Ring found the back of the net and New Jersey’s lead was stretched to 6-2 early in the period.

Doyle added his second goal of the game just before the five-minute mark.

Friday was the Nordiques’ 100th NAHL game. The only player to suit up in each of those games, Stefan Owens, scored Maine’s third goal by wrapping the puck around Stoever. Ignat Belov had the assist.

“He demands a lot out of himself and he demands a lot out of his teammates,” Pinchevsky said of Owens. “He’s a phenomenal human being and he’s a hell of a player.”

The teams meet again Saturday night at 7 p.m. at The Colisee.


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