The Maine Nordiques 18’s took flight to the NAPHL event in Pittsburgh, PA to conclude their first half of the season. A sleepy practice at RMU Island Sports Center would leak over into game 1 vs the Indy Jr. Fuel. A slow start still found the Nordiques up 2-0 after the first 2 periods. Jackson Truchan would provide both goals 1 and 2 with the first coming on a power play with assists from Genaro Fronduto and Alexey Yarmulnik. The second goal started at the tail end of a penalty kill where Truchan would be the goal scorer coming out of the penalty box. Brendan Waivada and Jacob Como would add assists on the play. The Nords would start the third with a two-man advantage where the explosive five goal third period started with a One Timer from Jacob Como and then Alexey Yarmulnik would prevail through a net front scrum for another strike on the 5 on 4 portion of the power play. Owen Grainger assisted on both powerplay goals. Jacob Como and Jackson Truchan were also involved in assisting on goal 3 and 4. Shortly after Owen Grainger would add his third point in five minutes sealing the wall and dangling his was through everyone including the goalie to slide one in on the backhand. The scoring concluded halfway through the third when Alex Ceritano received a wide-open chance in the slot off of an icing that ricocheted of the official right to Ceritano who was all alone on the goalie. A few moments later Jackson Truchan scored a beauty on the backhand dangling through three Jr. Fuel players to notch his third of the game and twelth of the season. Wineman, Yarmunik, and Grainger would get in on the action adding assists. Owen Grainger and Jackson Truchan would cap off four-point efforts, Grainger completing this in just one period. Ashton Billesberger would record his third shutout in ten starts making nine saves for the Nordiques. The power play finished the game 3 for 4 and the penalty kill was a perfect 2 for 2.
Saturday would be a very exciting day of hockey for games 31 and 32 of the season. The Nords opened up the day vs a very structured Tri-State Spartans out of Ohio/Indiana. Alex Ceritano would get the Nords on the board first with a five-hole one timer in the slot from Anthony Marra and Jack Wineman. The Nordiques found themselves into penalty trouble which resulted in 2 Tri State Goals at the start of the second period. Alex Ceritano would respond late in the second with a snipe over the blocker side of the goaltender for his and the team’s second of the game. Zach Sedlacek earned the only assist on the play forcing the turnover. Connor Miller got things going in the third period on the Power play with the help of Owen Grainger and Jackson Truchan. Alexey Yarmulnik would leak one over the line a few minutes later from the top of the crease. His linemates Connor Miller and Jackson Truchan would get credit for the helpers. Things looked promising for the Nords, but a penalty under five minutes of play would give the Spartans the window they needed as they tallied on the power play and then thirty seconds later to tie the game with a few minutes remaining. With under 20 seconds left Jackson Truchan would score his second game winnner in two games finding a rebound that hit off his shin and rolled into the net off of a Connor Miller shot. Ivan Roudakov would pick up a point a on the game winner with a beautiful breakout pass. Thomas Kiesewetter would record his third win of the season stopping 19 on 23 shots. With less than four hours in between games the boys would have to rebound against the top 20 ranked host team the Esmark Stars. Esmark was granted 2.5 additional hours of rest in between games, and this showed early. Esmark would score 2 powerplay goals early in the game. Truchan would get one back in the final seconds of the first with a tip off of an Ivan Roudakov one timer. Owen Grainger would pick up an assist on the goal and would also grab another assist on the tying goal later in the second period. Brendan Waivada would hammer home the power play rebound goal off a soft Owen Grainger shot from the point. Ryan Panico would add a secondary assist in his first game of the weekend. Shortly after Maine would get the lead off an Alex Ceritano high rising shot right off a face off win with Jack Wineman winning it straight back to Ceritano. The rest of the game the Nords would be the only team called for penalties on some QUESTIONABLE infractions. Esmark would hammer home two more power play goals (4 on 18 attempts) and collect their 4-3 win.
The last Game of the weekend the boys saw a 4-3 win vs The Skipjacks. MNDP Academy Team’s Truman Boettiger and Henry McRoberts would get the call up. Connor Miller stole the show adding three goals to cap off his weekend. Jack Wineman added two more assists on the weekend for a total of five in four games. Zach Sedlacek got in on the scoring as well adding his 13th of the season. Owen Grainger finished his hot weekend collecting points in all four games (1 Goal, 7 Assists) with an assist in the fourth and final game of the weekend. Jackson Truchan also got his four-game point streak continued with an assist collecting 5 goals and 4 assists and a +5 rating in the four games. Goaltender Ashton Billesberger (8-3-0) would collect win #2 stopping 12 of the 15 shots he faced.
“Overall a solid weekend. Our only loss comes at the hand of a team who got 120 more minutes of rest and 14 more power plays we can live with that and hope to get the puck luck later down the road. I believe we struggled all weekend finding the energy. We came out slow in all four games. We are humbled to be 21-9-3 but we will be more excited as we get a few more of these guys tendered to NAHL teams and continue to enhance our culture”