Photo by Jeff Lawler
The Maine Nordiques took to the ice to face off against the El Paso Rhinos for the last day of the showcase. The Nords and Rhinos were both 2-1 headed into the game, the difference being the Nords won yesterday and the Rhinos lost.
The first ten minutes of the period had both teams feeling each other out. Associate Head Coach, Matt Pinchevsky, said it was “almost like day one of the showcase”. The Nords had a day one mentality heading into the game; not focused on fatigue and tired legs from playing four games in four days. The players would have to work through the bruises earned in the previous days. The first period had a Nords power play that they weren’t able to capitalize on. The Rhinos also had a power-play of their own, but couldn’t beat Gus Holt. Reese Farrell, also had a great chance shorthanded and would whistle a shot wide of the net, not enough for a goal. Bryce Bollman got a great look at the net which was shut down with an acrobatic save from the Rhinos goalie. 0-0 after the first twenty minutes of action.
The second period started with some fireworks, as Gus Holt was tripped up coming out of the net to play the puck. The Nords stood up for their net and matching penalties were called – 5 on 5 continued. Shortly after Reese Farrell got another good look towards the back of the net, the puck was stopped on a good save. The next rush Gus Holt would come up big with his glove. Midway through the frame, Zion Green would get a tape to tape pass, from Nick Bernardo, and one time it home to break the scoreless tie and give the Nords a 1-0 lead. Just under two minutes, the Rhinos would respond to tie it at 1. The Nords would kill off a penalty shortly after the goal. The Nords would go to the box again, Gus Holt came up big in net. The Nords would start the third on a penalty kill.
The Nords killed off the penalty, just 5 minutes into the period the Rhinos would take the 2-1 lead. The Nords put on the pressure offensively, but had nothing to show for it. Fve minutes to go, Tristan Fasig, would throw a puck towards net that pin-balled around before it was picked up and put home by Aidan Connolly to tie it at two. With less than two minutes left to go, the Rhinos, would get a 3 on 1 chance the other way and take the one goal lead.The Nords would then use their timeout to try and get it back. The Nords would throw everything they had at the net, but it wasn’t enough and the Nords would end the 2021 showcase with a 2-2 record.
The Nords are on the road in Piney Orchard taking on the Black bears for an East Division Championship rematch this Friday to start their in-division play.