The first round of the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup playoffs begins this weekend with the divisional semi-final series pitting the number two seed Maine Nordiques against the number three seed New Jersey Titans. It will be a best of five series with the first two games being played at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee staring tonight and tomorrow night. The series then will move to the Middletown Sports Complex for games three (Thursday, May 27) and four (Friday, May 28 – if necessary). A game five would be played at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Sunday, May 30 if needed. Every game of the series is slated to begin at 7:00 PM.
This is the first time that these teams are facing each other in the post season.
Nordiques vs. Titans Overview
During the regular season, the Nordiques won six of the ten games between the teams with two victories being in a shootout. However, each team scored 31 goals. The last time they met was back on April 9 and 10 with the Titans sweeping the two-game series in Maine by a combined score of 12 – 4. The Titans have won four of the last six contests between the teams.
Stefan Owens led the Nordiques with eleven total points (six goals and five assists) against the Titans as well as goals (six). Maine was only 3 for 40 (8%) on the powerplay against New Jersey, although they did allow two shorthanded goals. The Nordiques goaltenders had a combined 3.05 goals against average and .911 save percentage with one shutout (Tyriq Outen).
Jake LaRusso led the Titans with nine total points (6 goals and 3 assists) and goals (six) against the Nordiques. The Titans were 6 for 33 (18%) on the powerplay against the Nordiques and they gave up one shorthanded goal. New Jersey’s netminders had a combined 2.85 goals against average and .925 save percentage with no shutouts.
This will be the first time in Maine’s two-year history that they have advanced to the playoffs. During the regular season, the Nordiques finished in second place in the East Division with a 35-19-2-0 record for 72 points (eleven points ahead of the Titans). Maine won their last regular season game by defeating the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks 3 – 2 in overtime at The Colisee; They finished the regular season winning seven of their last ten games. The Nordiques scored 169 goals on the season (ninth in the league) while they allowed 163 (tenth in the league). Maine was 29 for 228 (12.7%) on the powerplay (22nd in the league), and they allowed ten shorthanded goals. The Nordiques were 85.12% efficient on the penalty kill (fourth in the league), and they scored five shorthanded goals.
Owens led the team with 51 total points (24 goals and 27 assists) and goals (24). Aidan Connolly scored the most game winning goals with five. Andrew Noel had a team best +16. Isaiah Fox led the team in penalty minutes with 105.
Maine’s Avery Sturtz and Outen had a combined 2.85 goals against average and .915 save percentage with two shutouts (Outen).
This will be the fifth time that the Titans have advanced to the Robertson Cup playoffs. Excluding last year’s post season cancellation due to COVID, the Titans have reached the playoff every year in franchise history. In fact, they are the only team in the East Division’s history to make it to the playoffs beginning with the 2015-16 season. They have an overall 12 – 14 record in the post season, and they have an 8 – 8 record in the divisional semi-final round. They have won two of their four series in the divisional semi-finals (they swept the Johnstown Tomahawks during the 2016-17 season, and they overcame a 0-2 deficit to defeat the Jamestown Rebels 3 – 2 during the 2018-19 season).
The Titans finished in third place in the East Division with a 27-20-2-5 record for 61 points. They finished the regular season by defeating the Northeast Generals 5 – 3 in Attleboro, MA and they closed out the season by winning six of their last ten games. New Jersey scored 197 goals on the season (fourth in the league) while they allowed 174 (16th in the league). The Titans converted on 21.8% (49 for 225) of their chances on the powerplay (7th in the league). They allowed seven goals while on the man advantage. The Red Buckets were 84.2% efficient on the penalty kill (sixth in the league). The Titans scored 14 shorthanded goals (second in the league).
Nick Seitz (19 goals and 28 assists) led the Titans with 47 total points while Evan Werner led the team in goals (21). Werner also had the most game winning goals with four. Anthony Mollica had a team best +20. Brad Zona had a team high 136 penalty minutes.
The Titans goaltenders had a combined 3.04 goals against average and .916 save percentage with three shutouts (Christian Stoever (2) and Louden Hogg).