The Maine Nordiques haven’t clinched a first-round bye in the NAHL East Division playoffs quite yet.

The Rochester Jr. Americans, who are trying to track down the Nordiques for second place, kept their hopes alive with a 4-3 victory Friday at the Rochester Ice Center in Rochester, New York.

“I thought we played really well tonight,” Skerlick said. “It was a great hockey game; I can’t believe how good that hockey game was. I wasn’t disappointed with the kids. I thought we played good enough to win, but one lesson I hope they take away is sometimes good enough isn’t good enough.”

Maine (36-14-6, 78 points) needs one point in its final four regular season games to clinch a first-round bye and at least second place. For either the Americans (33-17-7, 73 points) and the Johnstown Tomahawaks (35-19-3, 75 points) to earn the bye, they must win their final three contests, have the other lose once, and have the Nordiques not to record a single point.

“We like to show ourselves that we can beat this team,” Skerlick said. “Rochester is a strong team and you want to win for that reason. You want to win to protect some of your top guys next weekend — not that team will look to goon it up, but things do happen. …

“To win tomorrow will be big for our group, in terms of confidence going into the playoffs.”


The teams meet again in Rochester on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Nordiques are 3-4 against Rochester this season. They face the New Jersey Titans for a three-game set next weekend.

Following a scoreless first period Friday, Maine and Rochester battled back and forth and each scored twice in the second period.

Nils Forselius and Jake Bernadet scored for the Nordiques, and Adam Gionta and Lucas Leighton netted goals for the Americans.

“Those guys led the charge. It was great,” Skerlick said of Forslius and Bernadet. “Zion (Green) was great as well.”

An early third-period goal by Thomas Rockey gave Rochester a 3-2 lead.


Gabriel Cull scored the eventual game-winner by beating Nordiques goaltender Thomas Heaney (36 saves).

Forselius got the Nordiques within a goal when his shot got past Americans goalie Danick Leroux (28 saves) with six minutes remaining, but the Americans kept Maine off the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest.

Luke Chappelle, Green, Ryan Panico and Bernadet each had an assist for the Nordiques.

Skerlick expects defenseman David Helledy to be suspended Saturday for taking a five-minute major for slashing during Friday’s game. Skerlick said he wouldn’t be surprised if the suspension is more than one game.


A pair of Maine Nordiques will play college hockey in the NESCAC next season.


Ryan Panico announced his commitment to Trinity Colley, which lost to Hobart College in the NCAA Division III national championship game last Saturday.

Panico has five goals and 25 assists in 44 games between the Johnstown Tomahawks and Maine Nordiques this season.

The Bantams had a handful of area connections on the roster this past season, including former Lewiston standout Alex Robert, former Twin City Thunder goalie Devon Bobak and defenseman Eamon Doherty. Head coach Matt Greason won the Travis Roy Award in 1997 while playing for North Yarmouth Academy.

Meanwhile, Matt Lewis will suit up for Connecticut College. The forward has three goals and nine assists in 39 games this season. Former Nordiques defenseman Tyler Harvey played for the Camels this past season.

The Nordiques announced defenseman Wade Weil joined the team and signed a tender for next season. Weil missed most of this season with an injury. The 18-year-old grew up in Lafayette, New York, but now resides in Hampden.

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