Junior hockey: Maine Nordiques knock out Rochester Jr. Americans with Game 5 OT win

Apr. 29—LEWISTON — Zion Green got The Colisee's speakers to play Dancing Queen.

Green scored with 95 seconds remaining in overtime got ABBA's hit song and the Nordiques anthem after wins blaring in the 2-1 win in Game 5 of the NAHL East Division semifinals against the Rochester Jr. Americans.

Maine will now face the top-seeded Maryland Black Bears in the East Division Final.

It was Green's second goal of the game, as he got the game's first star.

"You can't get better passes than that," Green said of his goals. "Kellen Murphy on the first one and my other linemate Nils Forselius on the second one. Both put them on a platter for me, and I love playing with those guys. I couldn't be more happy."

Both Forselius and Murphy had two assists.

"Not much you can ask from there," Forselius said. "It was an unreal play by Kellen to keep the puck in. He steps up, makes a big play, and bats it out of the air. It was like Zion was saying, we are really close, all three of us."

Maine goalie Carter Richardson had to be on top of his game early in the overtime session to keep Maine's season alive by making a handful of saves.

"There was a play where (Rochester's Massimo) Gentile got the puck behind the net in overtime and he tried to feed it in the middle," Richardson said. "There was a guy in the middle, I threw my stick out — I thought that was a pretty good play."

Richardson made 35 saves and earned the second star.

"It was 1-0 and Carter Richardson made three saves," Maine Nordiques coach Nick Skerlick said. "It was 1-1 in overtime; Carter Richarson made two more saves. He was unbelievable. There's going to be plays you are going to think about tomorrow morning when everybody wakes up — we will be like holy crap, that puck was behind, they had a Grade-A, they passed up a chance to shoot, that one hit the post."

After a scoreless first period, the Americans struck in the opening minute of the second period. Gentile deflected a Jordin Palmer shot past Richardson. Tyler Procious had the secondary assist.

The officials kept their whistles in their pocket in the first period other than matching minors, but many of the announced 1,102 fans thought they missed a tripping call and too many men on the ice against the Americans.

In the second period, Rochester got a power play nearly eight minutes in, but the Nordiques killed it. The Americans got a second power play when Alexander Park got a double minor for roughing, but the Americans' Jaden Dyke only got a roughing minor.

When Maine killed Park's extra minor, Green jumped on the ice and hung all alone near the offensive blue line when the puck was still in the Nordiques defensive zone. Green received a long-distance pass at the blue line, which would have been an uncontested breakaway, but the officials blew the play down for offsides and drew ire from the fans.

Green said the hockey gods repaid him later in the game.

"I'd think so," Green said. "That's the game; you have to keep going. You are going to get the bounces and sometimes you aren't."

The Nordiques got their first power play later in the middle frame when Landon Brownlee knocked Richardson down after the play, but Maine couldn't capitalize.

Green finally got the opportunity to strike early in the third period when he ripped a shot from inside the right circle after receiving a pass from Murphy.

Green rejoined the team in February after spending the beginning of the season in the British Columbia Hockey League. He was the Nordiques' leading scorer in 2021-22.

Skerlick said a game like Monday is why he brought Green in for the playoff push.

"Zion and I have an interesting relationship where it's high intensity, but it's also high reward," Skerlick said. "Tonight, for sure, was high reward and it's the reason why we acquired him at the deadline because without those two rips — that's what he does well — we don't win tonight."

Skerlick reached out to Green three times during the season.

"He wants the best for all of us, myself included," Green said. "At times, you can butt heads a bit, but at the end of the day, he put together a damn good group. All the guys are excited about what we can do here."

Maine had a few offensive zone faceoffs with under three minutes to play in the third period but couldn't get any high-danger chances on Rochester goalie Danick Leroux, who was named third star after making 36 saves.

The Americans had their opportunities at the end of regulation in the final minute, including a shot that went wide of the net.

Richardson said he tried to remain calm throughout the game.

"As a goalie, you provide energy for your guys and you are quarterbacking the whole game," he said. "As long as you are positive and say positive stuff. When they make good plays, you say nice things, it does a lot for them."

Copy the Story Link

Racing roundup: Trevor Sanborn wins SLMs to open Oxford Plains season; PASS rained out