Maine’s netminder Thomas Heaney stopped all 33 shots he faced to help lead the visiting Nordiques to a 3 – 0 win over the Titans to take a 1 – 0 in this best-of-five divisional semi-final series.
It was the first time that the Titans were shutout in the first game of a divisional semi-final game since May 20, 2021, when the same Nordiques blanked them 1 – 0 in The Colisee.
After a scoreless first period, the Nordiques opened the scoring with just 1:40 remaining in the middle stanza.
Maine’s Filip Wiberg won the draw deep inside his own zone, and from his knees, passed the puck up to Jonny Meiers just inside the Nordiques blueline. Meiers cut through center ice and into the Titans zone. As Meiers gained the line, he went towards the New Jersey net. Meiers went to cut towards his left through the goalmouth and took a shot that was saved by Zak Brice, but the rebound came right out to Henrik Hallberg on the doorstep and Hallberg jammed the puck past Brice to make it a 1 – 0 game.
The Nordiques opened the third period on the man advantage after Titans defenseman Sylas Oberting was called for interference with just eleven seconds remaining in the second period.
As time was expiring in the powerplay, Evan Orloff gave the Nordiques a 2 – 0 just 1:51 into the third period. Maine’s Patrick Schmiedlin started the play inside the offensive zone at the far side half wall and he sent the puck back to David Helledy at the point. Helledy sent a pass to Orloff on his left, and Orloff skated to the near side faceoff dot and took a shot that found its way through a screen and past Brice.
Just fourteen seconds later the Nordiques’ Kellen Murphy put the game out of reach. After the ensuing faceoff, Maine’s Brendan Gibbons picked up the loose puck at center ice along the far side boards and carried it into the Titans zone. As Gibbons gained the line, he passed the biscuit to Aidan Coupe on his right. Coupe send a return pass to Gibbons down low who made a centering pass out front to Murphy redirected the puck past Brice to make it a 3 – 0 game and close out the scoring.
Brice turned aside 34 of 37 shots in defeat. Click here for the complete box score.