Junior hockey: Maine Nordiques goalie Carter Richardson shuts out Maryland Black Bears in Game 1

May 3—Carter Richardson continues to be a dominant force in the crease for the Maine Nordiques.

The 18-year-old goalie made 36 saves in a 2-0 shutout of the top-seeded Maryland Black Bears in Game 1 of the North American Hockey League East Division Final at the Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland, on Friday night.

"His breakaway save in the second period and his play in the first period, moments like that gave us a chance to win the game," Maine Nordiques coach Nick Skerlick said. "Obviously, you score less than three goals — which I enjoyed watching— he made every save he had to make. Our (defense) and centers made his life a lot easier in the second and third periods — minus the breakaway on the penalty kill there."

Richardson is 4-1-1 in the postseason with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage.

Skerlick said at the beginning of March, he knew Richardson was going to be the No. 1 goalie in the playoffs.

"Probably February, we saw his game elevate," Skerlick said. "March 1 or 2, we told both goalies, 'Whoever has the hot hand, we are going to start riding towards the end and in the playoffs.' ...We know Thomas Heaney can get in there as well, if ever need be, and get us a win as well."

Black Bears goalie Owen Lepak stopped 28 of 30 shots in Maryland's first loss of the postseason.

Maine got scoring from its bottom-six forwards, first when Ryan Panico got his second goal of the playoffs midway through the second period for a 1-0 lead.

"It's almost scary how similar the goals are — the one he scored against Rochester," Skerlick said. "It was an odd-man opportunity for Tomek Haula to get a shot. Nick Bernardo coming in and diving for the puck saved the whole play."

St. Lawrence commit Cole Hipkin scored his first goal since March 2 for an insurance marker in the third period for the Nordiques.

"Cole Hipkin, we definitely won't take credit away from him, but we are hearing rumors Liam Gilmartin might get credit for the goal," Skerlick said. "Regardless, Cole Hipkin deserves credit for that goal. ... When one of your most defensive reliable players gets a goal in a huge game, from that moment on, it was all Nordiques all night. We killed a penalty after that goal and the last six minutes, I don't know if they crossed the red line until the last 30 or 40 seconds."

Maine and Maryland hit the ice for Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Saturday in Odenton at 6:30 p.m.

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