WATERVILLE — One player had long been a team lynchpin; the other two were donning a University of Maine men’s ice hockey sweater for the first time in front of a live audience.

It felt, though, as the Black Bears’ line of Bradly Nadeau, Josh Nadeau and Lynden Breen had been playing together for years Saturday in a 3-2 exhibition win over New Hampshire at Colby College. The trio thoroughly commanded attention as Josh Nadeau’s late winner proved the difference in the rivalry showdown.

Josh Nadeau had two goals, scoring at 6:41 in the first period and again at 18:10 in the third. Breen scored for Maine 20 seconds into the third period and assisted on the Black Bears’ two other goals with Brad Nadeau assisting on his brother’s first and Breen’s tally early in the third.

“They’re good hockey players, and good hockey players find a way to get things done and get the puck in the net,” Maine head coach Ben Barr said of his front-line trio. “In the offensive zone on the rush, they’re going to make plays.”

It’s never a surprise to see Breen’s name on the scoresheet. The senior captain and 2022-23 All-Hockey East second-teamer has never missed a game at Maine and has been the team’s top scorer for two consecutive years now.

Those accolades might grow even higher playing beside the Nadeau brothers, who hail from Saint-François-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick. In the center between Brad Nadeau at left wing and Josh at right wing, Breen says the duo has served to “make the job easy.”


UMaine’s Josh Nadeau, center, follows the puck at it goes between the University of New Hampshire’s Cy Leclerc, top, and a teammate during Saturday’s exhibition game at Colby College in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“They’re going to be successful on the offensive side of the puck every game; they’re going to make chances and be dangerous,” said Breen, Maine’s senior captain. “It’s just a matter of, keep learning from them and (understanding them). It’s pretty special.”

There is plenty of hype surrounding the Nadeau brothers, who tore up the British Columbia Hockey League a year ago with the Penticton Vees. Josh scored 44 goals and notched 55 assists while Brad poured in 45 goals and assisted on 68.

Playing in Maine colors for the first time, that hype looked warranted. Josh Nadeau’s two goals both broke deadlocks, and although Brad, a first-round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes this summer, didn’t find the net, he was no loss involved in the team’s success with his two assists.

“I learned (tonight) that I could keep up with those bigger guys,” Josh Nadeau said. “The play is fast, and I’ll have to get used to that, but it was a good first game for me. … I’m fortunate enough to play with two good players (up front), and it went very well for me. I got to put two in.”

Both Nadeaus, as their goal-scoring tallies would indicate, carry reputations as elite scorers. Josh, though only 5-foot-7, makes up for it with his speed and strong stick handling, and Brad boasts a shot so technically sound, the mere possibility of it can freeze defenders and open things up for Maine’s offense.

There’s already a special chemistry that seems to be brewing between the brothers and Breen. The Nadeaus, of course, are no strangers to playing hockey together, and fitting in with the veteran leadership of one of college hockey’s most seasoned veterans has been an easy task.


“We’ve been practicing as a team a lot between the park, the gym and the ice,” Josh Nadeau said. “We’re always on the ice, and with all of us wanting to learn, good things happen.”

If there are improvements Barr is looking for in the trio, that will come on the defensive end. Still, the three didn’t make any fatal mistakes in the defensive zone Saturday; none of them were on the ice for either of New Hampshire’s goals.

Maine, Barr said, can’t waste the opportunities it did Saturday. Although the Black Bears could have been up more than a goal after one, some of the chances the top line generated fell by the wayside. The team also had seven power plays but scored on just one.

“I think there’s a lot of positives, but we’ve got to finish,” Barr said. “I think we had plenty of chances and power-play chances to go up by more than we did, and that’s going to need our team grinding it out and being a little bit more ruthless.”

Comments are not available on this story.