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Junior hockey: Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks slip pat Maine Nordiques

Mar. 15—The Maine Nordiques saw a three-goal lead disappear in the third period in a 4-3 loss to the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks in an NAHL East Division game Friday at the Danbury Ice Arena in Danbury, Connecticut.

"We should have lost today. We didn't play well," Nordiques coach Nick Skerlick said. "We were up 3-0 after two periods and Danbury took four or five shots that went straight to the net. It's not really the goaltending, either. I thought Tommy played really well for us in the first two periods. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to bail us out like he did in the first two periods."

Nordiques goalie Thomas Heaney made 23 saves in the losing effort.

Wyatt Stefan — the son of 1999 NHL first-overall draft pick Patrik Stefan, who is Danbury's coach — scored twice and had an assist.

Danbury's (14-30-8, 36 points) offense woke up in the third period, starting with Wyatt Stefan putting the Hat Tricks on the board nearly two minutes into the period.

Former Maine Nordiques defenseman Cam Charron of Falmouth assisted on Noah Ziskie's goal that put Danbury within 3-2 at the 3:40 mark.

Stefan tied the game at 3-3 midway through the third when the puck got by Heaney. Then Andrew Horn scored the game-winning goal for the Hat Tricks on the next shift.

Nicholas Bernardo opened the scoring for the Nordiques (33-13-6, 72 points) when the defenseman scored his sixth goal of the season.

Maine took a 2-0 lead in the middle of the second period when Jake Bernadet beat Hat Tricks goaltender Lukas Fursten (27 saves).

Charles Tardif scored less than two minutes later, his 33rd tally of the season, to give the Nordiques a 3-0 advantage.

Skerlick said the Nordiques barely had any possession time before the two goals in the second period.

"Before we made it 3-0, we had possession in their zone for less than 30 seconds," Skerlick said. "The play was in our zone for most of the night. It was another wacky game for us."

Shane Kozlina, Evan Orloff, and Luke Chappelle had assists for Maine.

Both teams were 1-for-6 on power plays.

The Nordiques try for a split with the Hat Tricks on Saturday in Danbury at 7 p.m.

"Think the 3 p.m. start threw us off, playing the worst team in the East Division, for sure," Skerlick said. "... The boys are looking ahead to Rochester, and we have these guys three more times. It's super frustrating. We were off our game today, and Danbury deserved to win today."

The second-place Nordiques also host Danbury next weekend at The Colisee on Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (7 p.m.) before traveling to face the third-place Rochester Jr. Americans on March 29 and 30.

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