The Maine Nordiques couldn’t hold on to an early third-period lead in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Minot Minotauros on Thursday at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota.

“Their team is really good, I think the game could have gone either way,” Maine Nordiques coach Nick Skerlick said. “I don’t think the shots are indicative to what you see on the website, it’s not real. They said they outshot us by 20, there’s no way. But I thought that was our best effort.”

Maine (2-1-1, 5 points) entered the third period down 2-1, but Kim Hilmersson, who missed Wednesday’s game because of an injury from a fight in last Saturday’s win against the Northeast Generals, tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period.

Hilmersson gave the Nordiques their first lead of the game five minutes into the third period with a wrap-around goal past Minotaurus (2-0-0, 4 points) goalie Erik Chaffe (27 saves).

“He had two highlight-reel goals, and one was a really nice shot and the other one was ridiculous,” Skerlick said of Hilmersson’s goals. “It’s a shame that he couldn’t be the hero today, but at the end of the day, we got a point against a really good team. It’s our fourth game in six days, and the guys are feeling it. I am certainly feeling it.”

Jake Bernadet and Kai Dunits assisted on both goals scored by Hilmersson.


John Small found an opening past Nordiques goalie Carter Richardson near the midway point of the third period to tie the game 3-3.

The game entered overtime, but neither team could score in the 3-on-3 session.

“They only had one opportunity, off a timeout,” Skerlick said. “We had three or four Grade-A’s.”

The Nordiques shot first in the shootout and Cody Pisarczyk led Maine off by scoring. It was the lone goal for the Nordiques in the shootout, with Chaffe stopping David Helledy and Kellen Murphy in the second and third rounds.

Minot, of the Central Division, scored on its first two chances in the shootout, with Joel Lehtinen and Cayden Casey converting to clinch the victory.

It took halfway through the game before each team found the back of the net. Chad Mueller gave Minot a 1-0 lead just before the 10-minute mark of the second period when his shot beat Richardson (47 saves).


Murphy continued his hot start to the season for the Nordiques, scoring his fifth goal in four games to tie the game a few minutes later on a breakaway. Cole Hipkin and Charles-Edward Tardif had the assists.

“No one works harder than Kellen Murphy,” Skerlick said. “He did a really good job this summer. I am not sure what he did, but his ability to handle unfavorable pucks, bouncing pucks, pucks in mid-air, bad passes in his skates, is just crazy.”

The Minotauros took a 2-1 advantage into the third period when Mueller scored on the power play with about 90 seconds remaining in the middle stanza.

The Nordiques will face the Springfield Jr. Blues on Friday in Blaine at 3:45 p.m.

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