Junior hockey: Two late goals propel Northeast Generals past Maine Nordiques

LEWISTON – The Maine Nordiques were a minute away from going into overtime, but the Northeast Generals had other ideas.

The Generals ended the Maine Nordiques’ six-game winning streak with a 3-1 win in a NAHL East Division game at The Colisee on Friday.

Generals head coach Bryan Erikson said he’s pleased to take two points from Northeast’s New England rivals.

“We’ve always preached consistency, simplicity and web accessibility,” Erikson said. “The boys finally made it. I can’t imagine (Maine Nordiques coach Matt Pinchevsky) being super excited about how his boys played. I’m not particularly enthusiastic about how our boys played. I found the puck very springy today. It seemed nobody could get anything going.”

Pinchevsky said both teams were very active with their sticks on Friday night.

“I think that was a very passive game from both teams,” said Pinchevsky. “Both teams tried to defend with their sticks; Both teams took penalties with their sticks. You know the kick is a tool, but it always comes down to skating. The team that skates the hardest, the team that skates the most and covers the most ground should have an advantage whether you stay in your hand or not.

In a 1-1 draw in the third period, Jared Scott got the go-ahead for the Generals (12-8-1, 25 points) with a minute remaining, with Sixten Jennersjo and Matthew DeSpirit recording assists.

DeSpirit said everyone did their job on the eventual winning goal.

“I just moved (the puck) to Sixten; He drove to the net and luckily Scott had his racquet pressed for an easy tap in,” DeSpirit said.

Nearly 20 seconds later, DeSpirit set up Paul Minnehan’s 120-foot empty-net goal.

Early in the half, Nordiques forward Kellen Murphy leveled the game at 1-1 by jamming the puck before the home crease. Linemates Brendon Gibbons and Aiden Coupe provided assists. The goal fell in the middle of the third stanza.

Pinchevsky said Murphy is one player the organization is excited to see how he develops after inviting the team as a free agent.

“Kellen Murphy is a big play for the present that we’re focused on, but as collaborators we have to look to the future,” Pinchevsky said. “The future is bright for him. He is a Nordique, he has a home here.”

Murphy has six goals and three assists in 13 games this season.

Nick Ramm started and completed the first Generals goal in the middle of the first period to take a 1-0 lead. He dug the puck out of a couple of bodies at the Zamboni entrance and played to defender Tyler Ramm at the blue line. Nick Ramm went to the top of the crease and received a pass from Tyler Ramm. Then Nick Ramm shoved a backhander past Nordique’s goalie Kael DePape. Joseph Schubert also scored an assist.

“Tyler and Nick are twins; They’ve been playing together forever,” Erikson said. “Schubert was a very good addition to her (on that line). They play a very strong defensive game and if your best defensive lines can help offensively that will of course help you a lot.

Pinchevsky said DePape played well all game, stopping 18 shots in the loss.

Maine (8-8-0, 16 points) had a few chances late in the first period as he tried to level the game, but Generals goalie Toby Hopp (25 saves) stopped them and kept the game 1-0.

The Nordiques struggled with the penalty early in the second half when striker Laurent Trepanier was called out for high sticks and defender Evan Orloff received a two-minute penalty for tripping 48 seconds apart.

The penalty did its job and killed the 5v3. The Generals were 0-for-3 on the power play for the game.

“We played our (penalties) to give us the advantage in the game and they certainly did after a couple of games where we played well, but we could have been better,” Pinchevsky said. “Our PK was (tonight) at 100 percent.”

The Nordiques had a 0-to-2 man advantage.

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