The Maine Nordiques watched Friday’s tape and saw positives in the drubbing of a loss to the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.

Saturday, they exploited Danbury’s weaknesses for a 7-3 victory in a North American Hockey League East Division game in front of 238 fans at The Colisee.

“We did a rewatch (of Friday’s game) and did our homework, and we found out that there were a lot of categories of last night’s game that we won. Scoreboard wasn’t one of them, and puck challenges.” Nordiques coach Matt Pinchevsky said. “But from faceoffs, or momentum on special teams, with nine shots from the power play, time on attack and puck possession, there were some areas we needed to clean up and we come out in the first period and earned a bunch of pucks.”

Ignat Belov tallied two goals and his linemates Tristan Fasig and Aidan Connolly each scored a goal apiece.

“I think it’s the communication,” Belov said. “I just know where the guys are going to be before they talk to me. We just know how to play off each other really well.”

Belov scored his first goal 90 seconds into the game on a breakaway to give the Nordiques (10-15-3, 23 points) a 1-0 lead. His linemates, Connolly and Fasig, had the helpers.

Theo Thrun let loose a slap shot near the blue line and it beat Danbury (7-19-3, 17 points) goalie Josh Seeley just past the seven-minute mark. Assists went to Brendan Kimball and defenseman Jacob Pellerin.

Belov stretched the lead to 3-0 with about two and half minutes remaining in the first period. Connolly and Fasig recorded their second assists of the game.

“I think (Belov) was hungry to get back after it, like a lot of (players) coming off that little pause for a holiday break,” Pinckevsky said. “He’s a focused young man and Division I schools will take notice.”

Danbury had a power play that carried over from the first period to start the second period for 10 seconds, and the Nordiques killed the penalty off. But the Hat Tricks scored when Roberts Andersons put the initial shot on goal, Maine goalie Avery Sturtz (44 saves) made a kick save, and Jazz Kritsov put home the rebound at the 20-second mark.

“We just needed to get back to our game,” Danbury coach Billy McCreary said. “We need to learn to play a little more mature of a game. It’s hard to win games in this league, you can’t win one and take the next game off. We have to be a little more consistent.”

The Belov-Fasig-Connolly line struck again five minutes after Danbury got on the board. The line forced Seeley (20 saves) out of his crease, and Fasig put home the loose puck to extend the lead to 4-1. Belov had the assist, and defenseman Nicholas Bernardo notched the secondary assist.

“Seeley is an interesting goalie. We know how to play well against him and we know how to get in his head,” Belov said. “Once we saw the opportunity to move him and get him out of position, (Fasig) was open. He just had to put it in.”

Midway through the period, Peter Lynchikoff scored a power-play goal for the Hat Tricks to cut the deficit to 4-2. Boris Skalos had the assist.

“They scored a couple in the second, but we were right there to return the favor in the third,” Sturtz said. “It was a good ending.”

Danbury had a knack for scoring when a power play ended Saturday night. Maine killed off Bernardo’s goalie interference penalty, but 12 seconds later, Luka Sukovic made a power move in the slot to sweep the puck past Sturtz.

The start of the third period was uneventful until midway through the period. Nordiques forward Zion Green made a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone to defenseman Evan Orloff, who pinched in from the blue line to put the puck in a half-open net for a 5-3 lead.

Auburn native Reese Farrell scored a power-play goal when Seeley kicked Matt Connor’s shot to the weak side, and Farrell crashed in to put the puck in the net to extend the Nordiques lead to 6-3.

“He’s certainly not to blame. Seeley competed, but we had a lot of guys watching the hockey game tonight,” McCreary said. “We didn’t have enough guys playing it.”

The Nordiques were 1-for-2 on the man advantage and Danbury was 1-for-4.

Connolly scored an empty-net goal with less than two minutes remaining with a backhander from the neutral zone.

“It was especially nice for Aidan coming off an injury. Getting him back in the lineup and back on the scoresheet was special,” Belov said.

Connolly returned to the lineup Friday after being out for two months.

The Nordiques travel to Jamestown, New York, next Friday and Saturday to take on the Rebels.


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