The Maine Nordiques couldn’t keep the Johnstown Tomahawks’ high-powered offense down for long.

After the Nordiques took an early two-goal lead lead, the Tomahawks scored five unanswered goals to defeat the Nordiques 5-2 in a North American Hockey League East Division game at the 1st Summit Arena at Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

“We came out with the right mindset, we were executing our game plan and we were able to jump out to the early lead,” Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hold onto it.”

The NAHL league-leading point-getter with 22 points (11 goals and 11 assists), Jake Black had two goals for the Tomahawks.

The Tomahawks’ 39 goals are 10th in the 29-team NAHL.

“They are a perennial powerhouse in this league, and they are that way for a reason,” Howe said. “They are well-coached, and they stick to their guns and their structure, and they put a lot of pressure on you, and they drive pucks and bodies to the net. They have very active defensemen who join the rush, and as we saw in both games, when they get a lead, their coach demands them to do the things the right way to preserve that lead.”

The Nordiques (5-5-0, 10 points) opened the scoring early in the first period, with Ignat Belov scoring his fourth goal of the season. Tristan Fasig and Caden Pattison had the assists.

All three players have been with the team for at least two years. Howe wants to see more from them and the other five veterans on the team going forward.

“We rely on our veteran players to produce for us,” Howe said. “For me, at the end of the day, those guys to a man have to continue to do better. All eight of our returning players have higher expectations for themselves.”

Fasig set up Zion Green’s goal to give Maine a 2-0 lead later in the first period. It was Green’s third goal of the year.

Jake Black scored his 10th goal of the season to get the Tomahawks (6-5-0, 12 points) on the board late in the first period.

Johnstown tied the game a 2-2 early in the second period when Zachary Murray beat Nordiques goalie Avery Sturtz (23 saves).

Howe isn’t pleased with how the team is playing in front of Sturtz this season.

“We haven’t been good enough in front of him, and that’s the bottom line,” Howe said. “He has been hung out to dry all season long in the quality scoring chances he has to face. So part of (giving Sturtz the start) was to challenge our team to play better in front of him and defend the right way.”

Black gave the Tomahawks their first lead of the night with under three minutes remaining in the second period.

David Matousek stretched the Tomahawks’ lead to 4-2 two minutes into the third period.

Dustin Geregach added the empty-net goal.

The Nordiques take on the New Jersey Titans next Friday and Saturday in Middletown, New Jersey.


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