Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe saw early on that it might be a long night against the Johnstown Tomahawks.

The Nordiques gave up four odd-man rushes to the Tomahawks in the first five minutes of the game. Then, the goals started to roll in as Johnstown defeated Maine 6-3 in a North American Hockey League East Division game at the 1st Summit Arena at Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Friday.

“For a lot of our team, this is their first trip out to Johnstown,” Howe said. “We have to learn some tough lessons early (in the season). It’s a tough building to play in and a tough opponent. When you don’t show up and bring the right effort or attitude, things don’t go your way. We need to rebound, regroup and build off our third period and get ready for tomorrow.”

Jacob Badal put the Tomahawks (5-5-1, 11 points) up 1-0 early in the first period with his fourth goal of the season.

Jake Black recorded his second point of the game when he scored to give Johnstown a 2-0 lead midway through the first.

“We were trying to get the guys calmed down and play our game,” Howe said of the first period.

Johnny Ulicny scored a power-play goal to put Johnstown up 3-0 late in the period.

The momentum continued for the Tomahawks when Holt Oliphant scored in the first minute of the second period to stretch the lead to 4-0.

Black scored his second goal to extend Johnstown’s lead to 5-0 later in the second. The goal marked the end of Nordiques goalie Avery Sturtz’s (10 saves) night, and backup Gus Holt (18 saves) came in for the rest of the game.

Stephen Kyrkostas scored the Tomahawks’ second power-play goal past the halfway mark of the second period for a 6-0 lead.

Dom Marcinkevics broke Tommy Heaney’s shutout bid in the third period by getting the Nordiques on the board. It was Marcinkevics’ fourth goal of the season.

Heaney made 24 saves.

The goal sparked the Nordiques (5-4-0, 10 points) offense, with forward Jonny Miers scoring his first goal of the season with under eight minutes remaining in the game. Forward Zion Green and defenseman Zach Connor had the assists.

About two minutes later, defenseman Nicholas Bernardo scored to cut the deficit to 6-3. Forwards Tristan Fasig and Ignat Belov had the assists.

“We challenged their character (to motivate the players), we believe in our character in our locker room, and we challenged them to hold them accountable for the way they played,” Howe said. “At the end of the day, it was up to them on how they wanted to respond. Did they want to get embarrassed on the road, or did they want to show some push-back and generate some momentum heading into tomorrow?”

The teams play Saturday night, again in Johnstown, at 7 p.m.


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