The third-seeded Maine Nordiques are facing playoff elimination.

The top-seeded Maryland Black Bears defeated the Nordiques 5-1 on Saturday night at Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland, to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five NAHL East Division Final.

“Last night is in the past — the difference today is one team showed up and the other didn’t,” Maine Nordiques coach Matt Pinchevsky said.

The Black Bears opened the series with a 4-2 win Friday night.

Maryland will have a chance to close out the series on The Colisee ice Friday night. Puck drop is at 6 p.m.

The Black Bears spread the production around as 11 players found the score sheet and only one player had more than one point.


Gabriel Wrestling gave Maryland a 1-0 advantage when his shot from the high slot beat Maine goalie Thomas Heaney 4:30 into the opening period.

“I think we could have given more effort earlier in the game to set the tone,” Pinchevsky said. “We didn’t do that.”

Wrestling’s goal was a power-play tally.

Maryland went 1 for 4 on the power play and Maine finished 0 for 4.

Just like in Game 1 on Friday, the Black Bears struck early in the second period in Game 2. Former Twin City Thunder player and Air Force commit Sam Stitz scored his fourth goal of the playoffs. Brendan Piku had his second assist of the game.

Midway through the second period, Sean Kilcullen extended Maryland’s lead to 3-0.


Oliver Genest scored his second goal of the playoffs 14 minutes into the second period by beating Black Bears goalie William Hakansson, with Patrick Schmiedlin recording the only assist.

Pinchevsky said the Nordiques could have done more of what made them successful on Genest’s goal, which happened a couple of seconds after a power play expired.

“That’s two goals in two games that cross the (ice) to the back door,” Pinchevsky said. “Establishing that net-front presence has the same level of difficulty, whether you are up a man or even strength. We could have done that a little more.”

Adam Schankula scored nearly four minutes into the third period, giving Maryland a 4-1 lead.

Dimitry Kebreau scored an empty-net goal in the final minute of the third period. It was his third of the postseason.

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