Maine Nordiques player Zion Green at Thursday morning’s practice at The Colisee in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Zion Green is excited to get the opportunity to play his college hockey in his home state.

The 17-year-old Maine Nordiques forward committed to Northern Michigan University for the 2023-24 season last month. He becomes the eighth player on the Nordiques to commit to a Division I school.

“I am from (Birmingham), Michigan, and so that was a big factor; I am getting to stay in-state,” Green said. “My parents get to come to watch the games; that’s huge. The (Northern Michigan) coaching staff, I couldn’t have more love for them. Overall, I felt like it was the right decision, and they are a program (trending in the right direction).”

Northern Michigan is located in Marquette, Michigan, and a is member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The Wildcats are currently 5-6 this season. Head coach Grant Potulny played his college hockey at the University of Minnesota from 2000-2004 and scored the game-winning goal in overtime in the 2002 national championship game against the University of Maine.

Maine Nordiques coach Matt Pinchevsky said Green wants to do everything to win.

“We had a meeting (last Wednesday), and I asked him: ‘You are quite the opportunist, and you seem to hurt teams in a number different ways with your skill set, but what happens if the reward isn’t there? What happens if the goal isn’t on the board or the chances aren’t coming; who are you then?'” Pinchevsky said. “He gave me an amazing answer: ‘I want to be the most elite problem-solver on the ice if I can’t put in a goal in the net for our team.'”

Green was a 2020 eighth-round draft pick for the Nordiques in the North American Hockey League’s entry draft. In his first full season with the Nordiques’ NAHL team, he has six goals and five assists in 16 games, which is third on the team. His 11 points rank fifth in the entire NAHL among players younger than 18.

Green hopes to bring his offensive prowess to Northern Michigan.

“They run a high-skilled, fast-paced game, which I really like; it fits how (I play),” Green said.

The Maine Nordiques have the weekend off and return to The Colisee on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the Northeast Generals.

PALIICHUK TO PLAY FOR UKRAINIAN JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM

Twin City Thunder defenseman Arsen Paliichuk will be playing for his home country next month. The 18-year-old will be on Ukraine’s roster for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Division IB U-20 World Junior Championship in Estonia from Dec. 12-18.

After a strong main camp in August with the Thunder, Paliichuk suffered an ankle injury at the beginning of the season but has recovered.

“He’s a big kid; he plays hard, plays with an edge, skates really well,” Thunder coach Dan Hodge said. “He provides a little toughness on the (defense) for us.”

In seven games with the Thunder’s USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference team, Paliichuk has zero points and two penalty minutes.

This isn’t the first time the Thunder have had players represent their home country at the World Juniors. In the 2019-20 season, forward Levente Keresztes competed for Hungary in the Division IB tournament. Defenseman Gonzalo Hagerman represented Mexico in the Division IIB tournament.

The Thunder are at the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase this week. They begin the showcase against the Philadelphia Hockey Club on Thursday at 4 p.m. in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.

OLD FRIENDS HAVING SUCCESS IN NEW PLACES

Dom Marcinkevics has made an impact in the NCDC with the Jersey Hitmen. The forward, who last played for the Maine Nordiques on Oct. 29, has five goals and five assists in three games with the Hitmen. In 11 games with the Nordiques, he had four goals and two assists. His brother Patrick has been with the Hitmen all season.

Former Maine Nordique Connor Wood is third on the Boston Junior Bruins’ NCDC team with 18 points (10 goals and eight assists) in 20 games. Last season with the Nordiques, he had a goal and two assists in 23 games.

Talon Sigurdson was a goal-scoring threat for the Twin City Thunder’s USPHL Premier League team in 2020-21 and is now doing the same with the Anchorage Wolverines of the NAHL. He leads the expansion Wolverines with 23 points (16 goals and seven assists) in 18 games.

With the Thunder, he had 16 goals and eight assists in 17 games. He also had a short call-up with the Thunder’s NCDC team.

Colton Friesen, who the Thunder acquired midseason last year, has two goals and nine assists this year in 18 games with the Wolverines. Former Maine Nordiques Academy 18U defenseman Clay Allen is also with the Wolverines. He was named NAHL Defenseman of the Week on Monday. He has five goals and six assists in 17 games.


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