LEWISTON The Maine Nordiques haven’t seen a team like the North American Hockey League’s South Division champions, the Shreveport Mudbugs, this season. The same can be said for the Mudbugs, they haven’t seen a team like the East Division champion Nordiques during the 2020-21 North American Hockey League season.

The teams meet Friday night at 8:30 p.m. for Game 1 of the best-of-three semifinal series. Game 2 is Saturday night at 8:30 and a potential Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday at 7 p.m. The Robertson Cup final is Tuesday night and the Nordiques-Mudbugs winner will take on the Aberdeen Wings-Minnesota Magicians winner. All games can be seen on the subscription service HockeyTV.com.

“We do a really good job as far as studying the rest of the league. Ryan Shelly, our video coach, does a good job with our pre-scout videos,” Maine Nordiques associate head coach Matt Pinchevsky said. “I would say if the South Division has a kind of style of play, they’re as southern as they come. What I mean by that, they play with a lot of pace, they play heavy, their roster is pretty much over six feet, they have a couple (players) under six feet. It’s almost like that old-school, minor-pro style and I think it will be a very interesting matchup. They haven’t seen an opponent like us all year and we haven’t played an opponent like them all year.”

Pinchevsky also said the Caden Pattison-Jackson Vercellono-Jack Strauss line, which has provided physicality for the Nordiques, will see a mirror of themselves facing Shreveport.

The Mudbugs were fourth in the entire NAHL in penalty minutes with 1,104 in 54 games, but are 10th in the playoffs with 47 penalty minutes in seven playoff games.

Braiden Dorfman, a Dartmouth College commit, was the leading scorer for Shreveport in the regular season with 21 goals and 38 assists in 55 games. He has two goals and five assists in seven playoff games to lead the team. The University of Vermont-bound Cole Hudson has been the No. 1 goalie this season. In the regular season, he went 20-6-0 with a 2.16 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. In the playoffs, he’s 6-0 with a 1.63 GAA and a .942 save percentage.

Pinchevsky said the Nordiques will use their skill. Stefan Owens, who is heading to University of Massachusetts-Lowell, had 24 goals and 27 assists in 56 games in the regular season and has two goals and eight assists in this postseason to lead the Nordiques. Tyriq Outen led the Nordiques with a 22-10-1 record in goal in the regular season with a 2.91 GAA and a .920 save percentage. He has started every postseason game, going 6-2 with a 1.75 GAA and a .939 save percentage.

“They are going to look to slow down our pace, skating and skill, ability, how dynamic we can be,” Pinchevsky said. “I think we are a more dynamic team. The pace, they are looking to slow us down, we just have to make sure we establish the pace so they can’t handle it.”

TEAM PREVIEWS

ABERDEEN WINGS
COACH: Scott Langer (Fifth year)
DIVISION: Central
2020-21 REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 51-4-1, 103 points
ROAD TO ROBERTSON CUP SEMIFINAL: Defeated Minot Minotauros in the first round in five games; Defeated the Bismark Bobcats in Central Division Final in three games.
NCAA DIVISION I COMMITMENTS: 12
TOP SCORERS (PLAYOFF STATS IN PARENTHESIS): Forward, Payton Matsui, 27 goals, 38 assists, 65 points (2-4-6); Forward, Clayton Cosentino, 12 goals, 48 assists, 60 points (3-4-7); Forward, Thomas Manty, 25 goals, 28 assists, 53 points (3-1-4).
TOP GOALIE: Jake Sibell, 43-2-1, 1.19 GAA, .953 save percentage (5-1-1, 2.02 GAA, .928 save percentage).

MAINE NORDIQUES
COACH: Nolan Howe (Second year)
DIVISION: East
2020-21 REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 35-19-2, 72 points
ROAD TO ROBERTSON CUP SEMIFINAL: Defeated the New Jersey Titans in five games; Defeated the Maryland Black Bears in three games in East Division Final.
NCAA DIVISION I COMMITMENTS: Seven
TOP SCORERS (PLAYOFF STATS IN PARENTHESIS): Forward, Stefan Owens, 24 goals, 27 assists, 51 points (2-8-10); Forward, Isaiah Fox, 17 goals, 24 assists, 41 points (1-8-9); Forward, Cannon Green, 11 goals, 24 assists, 35 points (3-1-4), Forward, Tyler Gaulin, 10 goals, 25 assists, 35 points (0-1-1).
TOP GOALIE: Tyriq Outen, 22-10-1, 2.91 GAA, .920 save-percentage (6-2-0, 1.75 GAA, .939 save percentage).

MINNESOTA MAGICIANS
COACH: Stu Bickel (First year)
DIVISION: Midwest
2020-21 REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 24-21-3, 51 points
ROAD TO ROBERTSON CUP SEMIFINAL: Defeated the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the first round in three games; Defeated the Kenai Brown Bears in Midwest Division Final in five games.
NCAA DIVISION I COMMITMENTS: 13
TOP SCORERS (PLAYOFF STATS IN PARENTHESIS): Forward, Luc Laylin, 22 goals, 16 assists (1-4-5); Forward, Hunter Longhi, 18 goals, 16 assists, 34 points (1-2-3); Devlin McCabe, 10 goals, 24 assists, 34 points (3-6-9).
TOP GOALIE: Andy Beran, 17-10-0, 2.89 GAA, .917 save percentage (6-2-0, 2.25 GAA, .928 save percentage).

SHREVEPORT MUDBUGS
COACH: Jason Campbell (Third year)
DIVISION: South
2020-21 REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 38-11-7, 83 points
ROAD TO ROBERTSON CUP SEMIFINAL: Defeated the Amarillo Bulls in the first round in four games; Defeated the Wichita Falls Warriors in three games in the South Division Final.
NCAA DIVISION I COMMITMENTS: Eight.
TOP SCORERS (PLAYOFF STATS IN PARENTHESIS): Forward, Braiden Dorfman, 21 goals, 38 assists 59 points (2-5-7); Forward, Dawson Sciarrino, 11 goals, 31 assists, 42 points (3-3-6); Forward, Giovanni Procopio, 18 goals, 22 assists 40 points (2-1-3).
TOP GOALIE: Cole Hudson, 20-6-0, 2.16 GAA, .923 save percentage (6-0-0, 1.63 GAA, .942 save-percentage).


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