Photos by Jon Pitonzo
The Maine Nordiques took on the Maryland Black Bears in their first game of in-division play of the season. It was also a re-match of the East Division Final.
The Black Bears would get off to a quick start, when Sean Kilcullen fired a shot through a screen in front, that would find the back of the net just three minutes in. The Nords would then head to the power play and would give up a shorthanded breakaway, to Brad Mcneil; eventually lead him to drawing a hook for a penalty shot which he converted on. 2-0 Bears, just under five minutes into the game. The Nords would stay on the power play and work it around before Nick Bernardo would score from a sharp angle; the Nords power play, which is first in the East Division, headed into the weekend got off to a hot start. The Bears would get the puck looking for a defensive to defensive pass on their own side of the red line; but Dom Marcinkevics would take the puck away and snipe one short side to tie it at 2. With ten minutes left, Aidan Connolly had a great scoring opportunity and got Bears goalie Michael Morrelli down; the puck ended up hitting the post due to running out of space. It was back and forth, until Zion Green, got a great chance to score with two minutes; with the Bears goalie came up with a big save. The Nords would then go to the box. Avery Sturtz came up with two big stops before the Bears would take a penalty and we would go to 4 on 4 to close out the first period and the Nords would start the second with a power-play.
The Nords wouldn’t be able to score on the power play. Avery Sturtz came up with another big stop to start the second frame. The Nords and Bears battled with not much action on the scorecard, until the Bears would head to the box with twelve minutes left into the second. Dom Marcinkevics would take advantage of another Black Bears mistake and make a great move in front to give the Nords the 3-2 lead with eight minutes to go. The Black Bears would tie it up with five minutes to go in the second and then head to the power play; the Nords would kill it off. The Nords would head to the power play with forty-five seconds remaining in the frame looking to get the lead before the third, but couldn’t get anything in terms of offense.
The third period started with a rush by the Black Bears with back to back stops by Avery Sturtz keeping the score right were it was. The Black Bears kept on the pressure and a point shot got tipped in front and into the back of the net. The Bears had the 4-3 lead with seventeen minutes left to go. The Nords headed to the penalty kill and Iggy Belov would get a breakaway shorthanded but couldn’t convert to a point. The Nords would go back to the penalty kill with 9:30 to go in the third. The Nords would kill it off and then get another huge stop from Avery Sturtz with 4:40 to go in the third. With 1:21 to go in the third period the Nords would head to a huge power play and pull Sturtz for a 6 on 4 advantage, but the Bears would cash in on an empty net to take the 5-3 win.
Game two, of the two game series, is played tomorrow at 7:00pm at Piney Orchard.