The Maine Nordiques season came to a screeching halt.

The Maryland Black Bears scored six unanswered goals in Game 5 in a 6-2 victory Sunday night to capture the NAHL East Division championship over the Nordiques at the Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland.

“I think momentum is a huge thing at this level, and that’s something I’ve learned in my first season,” Maine Nordiques first-year head coach Nick Skerlick said. “I’ve seen leads evaporate pretty quickly.”

Maryland will represent the East Division at the Robertson Cup this weekend in Blaine, Minnesota.

Kareem El Bashir scored twice in the victory.

Maine found success late in the first period when J.P. Steele and Nick Ramm each scored on Maryland goalie Owen Lepak for a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

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“Nick Ramm capped off an amazing junior career with an exclamation point on an excellent shot, on probably the strongest goalie in the division throughout the season,” Skerlick said.

David Helledy, Charles Tardif, Zion Green and Kellen Murphy had the assists on Maine’s goals.

Midway through the middle frame, Dimitry Kebreau and Riley Ruh tied the game for the Black Bears.

El Bashir scored the eventual game-winning goal late in the second period for a 3-2 lead.

“Those three mistakes we made in the second period, Maryland didn’t earn; we kind of gave them,” Skerlick said. “When you spot a team — of I don’t know what it is, lack of focus, lack of preparation — you are going to get that result in the third period.”

Jeremi Tremblay and El Bashir scored 23 seconds apart early in the third period. Trayce Johnson capped the scoring nearly four minutes into the final frame.

Lepak earned the win in goal for Maryland, while Carter Richardson started for Maine, giving up all six goals before getting pulled for Thomas Heaney.


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