Both of Lewiston-Auburn’s junior hockey organizations — the Maine Nordiques and Twin City Thunder — hit the ice over the weekend in preparation for the upcoming season.

The Maine Nordiques of the North American Hockey League held their main camp at the University of Southern Maine and Family Ice in Falmouth over the weekend, while the Thunder took part in the United States Premier Hockey League’s Summer Showcase in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

The Nordiques invited a little more than 100 players to their camp. Head coach Matt Pinchevsky said the main camp focused on draft picks, tender signings and free agents.

Players who spent the majority of last season with the Nordiques and are eligible to return this upcoming season weren’t at main camp. They will be at training camp, which runs Aug. 19-26 at The Colisee.

The main camp had more 16- and 17-year-olds than the previous years.

“As far as the hockey operations (staff), our scouting staff did a great job; they got to build some relationships with guys that might be a year away because our futures game spotlighted a lot of strong players,” Pinchevsky said.


One of the younger players to stand out during the entire camp was 17-year-old free agent invitee Saxton Tess of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 16U team. He put up 16 goals and 23 assists in 50 games last season.

Players on the Nordiques’ 30-man protected roster who stood out were draft pick Laurent Trépanier (forward) and tender signee David Helledy (defenseman).

“Laurent Trépanier had an excellent main camp and was an impact player in every single game from the first game to (Sunday’s) all-star game. David Helledy on the back end was very impressive; he’s going to take a ton of momentum into training camp with what he showed,” Pinchevsky said.

Trépanier, 18, played in four games with the Nordiques as an affiliate player (one who can play up to 10 junior hockey games in a season) but spent most of the season with the Seacoast Performance Academy 17U team, scoring 21 goals and assisting on 30 others in 57 games.

Helledy, 19, had five goals and 20 assists in 31 games with New Hampton School (New Hampton, New Hampshire). Since he signed a tender during last season, he was eligible to play for the Nordiques after his season with New Hampton ended. He appeared in seven games and recorded no points.

Pinchevsky added that the goalies had an impressive showing the entire weekend, including Sunday’s all-star game, which was dubbed the Farrell Cup for former Nordiques forward Reese Farrell, who will play at Army in the fall.


Team Red won the Farrell Cup 1-0 in overtime against Team Blue.

Pinchevsky said Kyle Warren — recently promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach — did a great job putting together the main camp, which had college coaches, other junior hockey team scouts and player advisors in attendance throughout the weekend.


For the Thunder, this past weekend was the appetizer to the main camp, which takes place Aug. 18-21 at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

Twin City co-owner and National Collegiate Development Conference team coach Dan Hodge said his main focus at the showcase was getting an idea of the skill level of the players who attended. He made sure the players knew that the showcase wasn’t going to decide who will be on this year’s roster

“This time of year is a roller coaster for these kids,” Hodge said. “Every weekend there’s a showcase: This weekend was the (USPHL) showcase, next weekend is the Chowder Cup, there’s probably a showcase the weekend after that.


“These kids are so tight. They want to perform their best at all times, you want to go there and let them know that this is an opportunity to show what you got, but main camp is the time to get going to really make your case. As (coaches), we told them, the level of play is going to keep rising as we move close to the season; that’s the message we went with this weekend.”

The Thunder entered three teams in the showcase — in the previous three years, they had only two. Both the Twin City Thunder Blue and Grey teams finished the showcase 1-2 while the Orange team went 0-3.

Hodge said the Thunder could have entered a fourth team, with the number of players interested in attending the showcase or players who couldn’t make it because flights were too expensive.

“A lot of kids said, ‘I’d like to be there, but I will be there for main camp,'” Hodge said. “We should have a strong main camp and we are looking forward to that, for sure.”

Two players from last year’s NCDC team, Ethan Lim and Tommy Gannon, participated in the showcase. Defensemen Damon Bossie and Nick Pomerleau, both of Lewiston, and forward Gavin Simopoulos of Cape Elizabeth, who all primarily played for the Thunder’s Tier III Premier team, also attended the showcase.

Bossie and Pomerleau have made strides in the past year.


“With Pomerleau, you could tell he had a little more confidence to his game — he kind of has an offensive part to his game,” Hodge said. “Bossie played really strong this weekend. I told him: ‘You played really well this weekend. Now, we need to keep pushing forward from here.’ That’s the best I have seen him perform since I have seen him play. I was very happy the way he (played).”

Pomerleau had five goals and 11 assists in 38 Premier League games and one assist in four NCDC games. Bossie had five goals and nine assists in 44 Premier League games.

Hodge said free agent invitees Will Halecki and Jimmy Tatro each had good weekends.

Both played in the Eastern Hockey League last year — Tatro with the Valley Jr. Warriors (two goals and three assists in 11 games) and Tatro for the Boston Jr. Rangers (15 goals and 28 assists in 45 games).

The Thunder will continue their 2022-23 preparation this weekend when they hold a three-day goaltender identification camp at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

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