Junior hockey: Maine Nordiques open playoffs with a win over Rochester

Apr. 19—LEWISTON — The Maine Nordiques opened the North American Hockey League East Division semifinal series with timely scoring.

Four different goal-scorers helped the second-seeded Nordiques defeat the third-seeded Rochester Jr. Americans 4-2 in Game 1 at The Colisee on Friday night.

"The first period, we executed our game plan. Our second period, we started pretty terrible to be honest with you," Maine Nordiques coach Nick Skerlick said. "Our first six minutes were pretty embarrassing — we typically do that once a period. I am glad it happened in the second because Carter (Richardson) made a couple of big saves. We had some really good individual efforts by defensemen and by forwards to channel the storm."

Richardson stopped 29 shots in the win.

"I felt our defense did a good job about boxing out in front of the net," Richardson said. "Going into the third, Rochester kind of pushed really hard."

Both teams had their skating legs in the opening period, with action up and down the ice. Maine started to dominate possession time in the middle of the period.

Jake Bernadet got The Colisee buzzing with a poke check in the neutral zone and had a breakaway on Americans goalie Florian Wade (20 saves). Bernadet kept his shot low to beat Wade 11:12 into the period.

"He's a huge asset," Nordiques forward Nils Forselius said of Bernadet. "We definitely wouldn't have made it this far without him. He made a huge play to win the puck, and he has serious boots on him."

The Nordiques outshot the Americans 10-4 in the opening stanza.

Rochester put pressure on Richardson early in the second period, getting four shots early.

Maine flipped the ice nearly six minutes into the second period. The Nordiques got three quick shots on net and forward Ryan Panico crashed the net and potted the loose puck into the cage to make it 2-0. Defenseman Luke Chappelle had the lone assist.

"That play happened a couple of times tonight and we didn't score on it," Skerlick said.

After two full periods of no penalties, each team got a minor within a minute of each other in the third.

The teams had a line brawl the last time Rochester was in Lewiston.

Maine got a power play when Massimo Gentile got called for roughing. Forselius scored on the man advantage when he roofed a shot past Wade on the backhand for a 3-0 lead.

"I am pretty good friends with this goalie, I know he has his glove on the (right hand), so I kept it to the backhand and were able to roof it," Forselius said.

There were 12 minor penalties between the two teams in the third period.

"The officiating didn't make a difference in the score, obviously," Skerlick said. "They called a good game. I thought we could have had two power plays and they could have had one. They did a good job keeping their whistle out of their pocket. But when it's 4-0, I think the guys got bored."

Defenseman JP Steele's shot from the top of the right circle found a hole past Wade 11:18 into the third. Defensive partner Nick Bernardo and forward Shane Kozlina had the assists.

Richardson gave up his first goal when the puck squirted through his legs into the net a little over a minute after Steele's goal. Tyler Procious got credit for the tally.

Richardson got knocked down before the goal.

"I was confused; I got hit in the head and when I got up the net was off (the moorings)," Richardson. "I pushed to the puck and it was in the net. They called it a goal — not much I can do there."

Procious later found Lucas Leighton for a power-play goal to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Rochester pulled Wade for the final two minutes of the game. There was a long stoppage with 1:16 remaining to look at a potential Rochester goal, but the refs stayed with the initial call of no goal.

Jake Bernadet hit the post on an empty-net attempt.

Game 2 is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. at The Colisee.

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