LEWISTON — Evan Orloff isn’t known for his offense, but he can score.

The Maine Nordiques defenseman came through in the clutch with the game at a deadlock with the Johnstown Tomahawks. His third-period goal helped lift the Nordiques to a 7-4 victory against the Tomahawks in a NAHL East Division game at The Colisee on Friday.

It was the 20-year-old’s second goal of the season and came midway through the final period.

“It felt great, especially against Johnstown, it’s an opponent that we struggled with in the past,” Orloff said. “To score the game-winner and have two empty-netters after that, it feels really good to get the win.”

Jake Bernadet and Laurent Trepanier added empty-net goals in the final minute of the contest.

Maie Nordiques coach Nick Skerlick said Orloff was trying to do a little too much in the opening 20 minutes.

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“Evan was getting a little cute there in the first period; we actually sat him in the second period a little bit,” Skerlick said. “He wasn’t too happy about it. It always seems to be irony, he gets the puck, he doesn’t under-handle it and he rips it to get the game-winning goal.”

David Helledy of Maine, left, battles Reid Lune of Johnstown for a loose puck during first period action at The Colisee in Lewiston on Friday. Ron Morin photo

The Nordiques (15-5-2, 32 points) got off to a quick start when Shane Kozlina tracked down the puck and skated into the offensive zone on a breakaway less than three minutes into the opening period. His wrist shot beat Johnstown Tomahawks (12-8-1, 25 points) goalie Jacob Osborne to give Maine a 1-0 lead 2:50 into the game.

“It’s funny, we have done that a couple of times, our first two shifts aren’t good and one of our buzzsaws goes down the ice on a breakaway,” Skerlick said.

Forward Nils Forselius hit the crossbar with a shot from the slot a few minutes later for Maine.

Zach Aben got the Tomahawks on the board on the power play with a quick shot from the high slot less than minutes in to tie the game up at 1-1.

Ryan Panico scored against his former club when he redirected a cross-ice pass from defenseman Luke Chappelle past Osborne nearly 12 minutes into the first period for a 2-1 Nordiques lead. JP Steele had the secondary helper on the goal.

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Chappelle also played for Johnstown for a game last season. Both Panico and Chappelle were Maine Nordiques Academy alumni.

“(Chappelle) made another ridiculous move, hitting Ryan Panico. Two Academy guys connecting against their former team,” Skerlick said. “It’s really good to see those guys get on the (score) sheet.”

The Nordiques went to work in the final two minutes of the first period. Charles Tardif scored on the man-advantage with 1:46 remaining with a goal in front of the net. Kellen Murphy scored after intercepting a clearing attempt and fired the puck past Osborne (12 saves) with 18 seconds remaining, making it 4-1.

Zach Ferris (12 saves) took over in goal at the start of the second for Johnstown.

The Tomahawks found success in the second period when Will Lawrence’s low shot beat Nordiques goalie Adam Moller between the legs nearly six minutes into the stanza.

Nordiques goaltender Adam Moller makes a save on a puck deflected by Tomahawks forward Justin Rapp during a game at The Colisee in Lewiston on Friday. Ron Morin photo

Four seconds into the Tomahawks’ second power play, Nick White’s point-blank shot squirted through Moller’s five-hole midway through the frame to cut the deficit to 4-3.

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The goal ended Moller’s (seven saves) night in goal and Thomas Heaney (eight saves) came on in relief.

“The second power-play goal was an element of surprise, right off the faceoff,” Johnstown coach Mike Letizia said. “Maybe he wasn’t ready, but we didn’t necessarily design it. It’s kind of how the puck fell.”

The Tomahawks stayed perfect on the power play when Justin Rapp picked up the loose puck in front of Heaney’s crease and slid the puck into the goal to tie the game at 4-4 late in the period.

“We didn’t want the 4-1 start, but we did a good job coming back hard in the second and tying the game up,” Letizia said. “The power play got some goals and got the opportunities.”

The goal came 21 seconds after the referees waived off a Nordiques goal as Nick Ramm got called for interference.

“I thought Nick Ramm was good tonight,” Skerlick said. “He just took two accidental penalties and that changed the whole complex of the game.”

Maine nearly scored on its first power play of the third period when players tried to jam the puck over the goal line while Ferris held his left pad on the post. The referees did check the replay, but the call stood on the ice as a no-goal.

The teams meet again at The Colisee on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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