Maine ‘s Stefan Owens scored with 3:24 remaining in regulation to give the Nordiques a 1 – 0 win over the visiting New Jersey Titans last night and take a 1 – 0 lead in this best-of-five East Division semi-final series.
Despite the outcome, this was playoff hockey at its finest. It was end-to-end action throughout with multiple scoring chances, blocked shots, physical play, and of course great goaltending from Maine’s Tyriq Outen and the Titans Christian Stoever.
Prior to Owens’ goal, the Titans’ Jack Ford had a chance to give the Red Buckets the lead midway through the third but Outen stopped him on a breakaway.
With time winding down in regulation, Maine’s Matt Connor picked up the loose puck just outside his own blueline and brought it up through center ice and into the offensive zone. As Connor gained the line, he took a wrist shot from just inside the far side faceoff circle slot that handcuffed Stoever and the rebound went up high that was gloved down by Owens and into the open net. The referee immediately and emphatically waived off the goal. However, after a conversation with his colleagues, the call was reversed, and the goal was credited to Owens.
Then with 2:38 remaining in the game, Maine’s Jack Strauss was called for checking-from-behind to give the Titans the man advantage. New Jersey had their chances to tie the contest but Outen had to make several key saves to keep the Titans off the scoreboard.
Stoever stopped 38 of 39 shots while Outen turned aside all 39 he faced for his third shutout of the season. Click here for the box score.
The two teams will meet again tonight at 7:00 PM at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.