Stats don’t always tell the whole story.

The Maine Nordiques went 1-for-5 on the man advantage, but the power play got the offense going in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Titans in Game 3 of the best-of-five North American Hockey League East Division semifinals Thursday in Middleton, New Jersey.

“A lot of credit goes to coach (Matt) Pinchevsky and (the players) to keep working on (the power play),” Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said. “Obviously it’s an area we needed to get more production from, and tonight they had a goal. I thought every time we were on the power play we were dangerous, we were getting pucks to the net, we had good possession time. It was an important part to the game, as well as our penalty kill, which was perfect again.”

Maine killed off New Jersey’s only power play of the game.

The Nordiques can clinch a berth in the divisional final by winning Game 4 on Friday. If the Titans win Game 4, Game 5 will be Sunday at The Colisee in Lewiston at 7 p.m.

The Nordiques went to the power play early in the first period and put four shots on goal, but Titans’ goalie Christian Stoever (37 saves) stopped them all.

New Jersey took a 1-0 lead late in the first period when Connor Pelc scored his first goal of the playoffs.

Maine responded with a strong start to the second period. Auburn native and Army commit Reese Farrell tied the game with a goal at the 1:36 mark that was set up by Colorado College commit Patrick Schmiedlin and University of Maine commit Tyler Gaulin. The goal is Farrell’s first since April 17.

“It was a great response from (Farrell),” Howe said. “Unfortunately, he was out of the lineup in Game 2, which speaks to our depth on what a good hockey team we are, and he was able to come in tonight and get the job done. I have nothing but faith in that young man, he has been tremendous all year and a great teammate. We were happy to see him bury one.”

The game stayed 1-1 for only two minutes, then Jake LaRusso set up a goal by Evan Warner that gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead.

The Nordiques didn’t capitalize on a power play — from a penalty that put former Twin City Thunder forward Levente Keresztes in the box — that carried over from the second period to the third, but shortly after it ended, Tristan Fasig scored to tie the game at 2-2. The assists went to defenseman Andrew Noel and forward Aidan Connolly.

“Going into the third period down (2-1), we had a lot of believe in the (locker room) and we wanted to get on the board quickly, and we were able to do that,” Howe said. “It was a good start there for the third period.”

The power play finally struck when second-year defenseman Luke Antonacci ripped a shot from the top of the point at the seven-minute mark. Forwards Stefan Owens and Isaiah Fox were credited with the assists.

The goal capped quite a day for Antonacci, who was drafted in the afternoon by the Sioux City Musketeers in the third round of the United States Hockey League’s Phase II draft.

Howe said that Antonacci was one of the Nordiques’ most effective players in Thursday’s game.

“He was a catalyst back on (defense), he logged the most minutes on the team, and rightfully so with the game he plays and controls the puck,” Howe said. “I also thought he defended very well. It was a good all-around game from him. It shows why he’s one of the leaders on the team.”

Nordiques goalie Tyriq Outen (24 saves) made two big saves in the middle of the third period to keep the game 3-2.

Thursday’s win was the first time this season the Nordiques came from behind in the third period.


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