Stefan Owens loves playing against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.

The 20-year-old Maine Nordiques forward scored two goals during a 5-2 victory in a North American Hockey League East Division contest Saturday night.

Seven of Owens’ team-leading 20 goals this season have come against the Hat Tricks.

Associate head coach Matt Pinchevsly said the team doesn’t draw up plays for players who do well against a certain opponent, but they try to get that player or line more ice time.

“We trust (Owens’) decisions on the ice and he’s really supportive with his linemates, they do a great job working with him out there,” Pinchevsky said. “It’s essentially about momentum or the pace of the game. There might be a situation, pace or decisions or what his line generates (for offense) might serve a better purpose in which we might get them back out there.”

Sacred Heart commit Aidan Connolly also had two goals for the Nordiques.

Avery Sturtz made 27 saves for the Nordiques in the victory. He now has 11 wins on the season.

“Personally watching him in warmups (of Friday night’s) game, Avery has been unbelievably dialed in,” Pinchevsky said. “He was game-ready to win us one yesterday (if needed) and today is when he went in there and did exactly that.”

Maine (30-18-1, 61 points) scored first for the seventh time in the past 10 games as Owens finished off a give-and-go with linemate Isaiah Fox just past the two-minute mark of the first period. Cannon Green also notched an assist.

The floodgates opened in the second period for the Nordiques as Auburn native and Army commit Reese Farrell put the Nordiques ahead 2-0 nearly six minutes into the period. Luke Antonacci and Maine commit Tyler Gaulin had the assists.

Connolly put Maine up 3-0 as he tipped in a Matt Connor shot from the right point. Forward Ignat Belov also had an assist.

Owens notched his second goal of the game as he beat Danbury goalie Josh Seeley (15 saves) with just under two minutes remaining in the second period. Andrew Noel had the assist.

Seeley was pulled after the second period and backup Andrew Pichora made seven saves.

Danbury (16-19-3, 35 points) opened the third period as Alex Krause ripped a shot past Sturtz 85 seconds into the period.

The momentum continued for the Hat Tricks as Jason Kleinhans scored his second goal of the weekend eight minutes into the third, with Stephen Spetz and Nolan Barrett notching the assists.

“I do think that we were kept honest by the outcome of the game,” Pinchevsky said. “We may have took the foot off the gas and lacked a little bit of awareness in some situations that (Danbury) was able to capitalize on. But again, these are all correctable things, which is the best part. It keeps us honest and we make the corrections and we have an even better game tomorrow.”

Connolly added an empty-net goal to cap the scoring for the Nordiques.

After winning the first two games of the weekend, the Nordiques go for the sweep Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.


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