LEWISTON — The Maine Nordiques ended their four-game home stand with another loss at The Colisee.

The New Jersey Titans defeated the Nordiques 5-1 in a North American Hockey League East Division contest. Maine has lost four straight at home and five overall.

With nine games left on the schedule — including the next seven on the road — the Nordiques (28-18-1, 57 points) have a six-point advantage over the Titans (22-16-7, 51 points) for second place in the East Division.

“I am looking forward to apply what’s learned instead of going through how we are preparing (the team) and understanding it. It has to be applied in the game,” Maine Nordiques associate head coach Matt Pinchevsky said. “It’s too late in the season to reinvent the wheel, it’s just a matter of effort and accountability. “

Jake LaRusso had another two-goal game again to lead the Titans, as he had two goals Friday night as well.

“I didn’t score do anything for six games and come out here and do this this weekend was not only huge for me but the team,” LaRusso said. “Coming out with four points feels even better.”

Puck movement helped the Titans take a 2-0 lead in the first period. Matthew Iasenza and Zach Nazzarett moved the puck behind the Nordiques net to get goaltender Avery Sturtz (23 saves) moving and Army commit Stephen Willey was in the slot. He received a pass and put home the puck as he had a half-open net to shoot at. The goal came past the five-minute mark of the opening period.

“We went over our puck support routes and ways we wanted to find offense in the offensive zone, and a lot of it is simplifying the approach and supporting it in the right areas,” Titans coach Craig Doremus said.

New Jersey went up 2-0 as LaRusso scored his third goal of the weekend, also from the slot, just past the 11-minute mark of the opening period. Cade Penney and Blake Humphry set the goal up.

“We had two defensive breakdowns, one came on the strong side from one of our wingers and the other was too many toes pointing (in the wrong direction) and not having their man in front of the net,” Pinchevsky said.

Maine had two power plays in the period but both times the man advantage ended early as the Nordiques took a penalty of their own.

The Nordiques coaching staff wasn’t pleased with some of the calls against the Nordiques in the game.

The Titans carried the momentum into the second period as Princeton commit Nick Seitz fired a snap shot from the slot to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead as Nazzarett picked up his second assist of the game.

Despite the rough start to the second period, the Nordiques controlled the play for a lot of the middle frame as they outshot the Titans 13-3 in the stanza.

On a 5-on-3 power play, Tristan Fasig put Maine on the board as he crashed towards the goal and fellow forward Cannon Green fed him the puck right in front of the crease for the goal with under five minutes remaining in the period. Defenseman Cooper Swift also had an assist on the goal.

“I think Green made a real (heads-up) play, with Cooper Swift and Luke Antonacci the (defensive) pair,” Pinchevsky said. “We went over 5-on-3 this week. It was good to see them cash in.”

Just 11 seconds into the third period, LaRusso had his second goal of the contest as he beat Sturtz.

The Nordiques had another 5-on-3 power play in the middle of the third period but Titans goalie Christian Stoever (33 saves) was able to make a few saves to keep a three-goal lead for the Titans.

The Nordiques were 1-for-6 on the man advantage while the Titans were 0-for-3.

“Our PK stepped up big and we were able to get a (goal) back there to extend that lead,” Doremus said. “If you are going to be successful you need to get contributions up and down the lineup and different facets of the game.”

After the Titans killed off the 5-on-3, Jack Ring scored a breakaway goal as the Titans lead was extended to 5-1.

The Nordiques’ seven-game road trip starts with three games next weekend against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.


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