By Romano Di Franco
The Nepean Raiders opened the month of March with a 3-2 win at home over Pembroke but then dropped a pair of Central Canada Junior Hockey League games last weekend.
The Nepean Raiders hosted the Pembroke Lumber Kings at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena on Wed., March 1.
Ben Forget got the nod in goal for Pembroke while Joshua Branton defended the goal for Nepean.
The two teams traded chances in the first but it was Jordan Graham with the best chance for Nepean taking a Brayden Potvin pass and entering the Pembroke zone on a mini breakaway but his deke attempt was blocked by Forget.
The Raiders set the pace in the second period and ended their 147-minute scoring drought on a goal by Shane Moodie who finished a great play by Owen Hardy. Luke Posthumus picked up his 23rd assist on the play.
Posthumus made it 2-0 Nepean after a truly highlight-reel goal where he beat the entire Pembroke team before fooling Forget with a cheeky goal. The goal was officially credited as unassisted but Wade Bolton made the initial pass.
Pembroke tied it up with a pair of goals by Pratt Stetson and Sacha Trudel. The first goal came on a 5-on-3 PowerPlay with Tristan Caldwell (Cross Checking) and Wade Bolton (Roughing) in the box. Trudel’s goal came just as the 5-on-4 PowerPlay had expired.
Nicholas Papineau was the hero for Nepean swatting home a pass from Brandon Reinisch to put Nepean up 3-2. Anthony Rivard had the other helper on the goal.
Pembroke pulled Forget for the extra attacker and it almost paid off early but Cam Hicklin rang a shot from the high slot off the far post. The Lumber Kings were buzzing but Branton made the stop with one second left on the clock to force a faceoff to his right.
Must Win For Colts
On Sat., March 4, the Raiders travelled to the Ed Lumley Arena to take on the Cornwall Colts. It was a must-win game for the Colts, who are fighting for a playoff spot. The Colts had little trouble with the visitors, winning 10-1.
Joshua Branton started in goal for Nepean while Dax Easter got the start between the pipes for Cornwall.
Caden Eaton opened the scoring for Cornwall rifling a shot from the high slot over the glove of Branton to make it 1-0 Colts. Nathan Garnier picked up his 18th of the season on the PowerPlay with Nicholas Larkin in the box for Slashing. Kobe Tallman snuck a sharp-angle shot by Branton to give Cornwall a three goal lead.
The middle frame started well for Nepean as Curtiss Sturgeon picked up a short-handed goal after Tristan Caldwell’s Boarding penalty late in the first period carried over into the second. Nicholas Larkin fed Sturgeon on a long lead pass that gave him a breakaway where his shot low to the glove side beat Easter to put Nepean within striking range.
Cornwall had other ideas though as they struck for six unanswered goals in the second. Bradley Fraser scored twice, followed by Keanu Krenn, Nathan Garnier, Justin Ouellette, and finally Fernand-Olivier Perron to make it 9-1. Branton was chased after the second Fraser goal and Luca Sandu came in to relieve Branton. The line on Branton was 13 saves on 18 shots.
The third period was quiet with only Keanu Krenn finding the back of the net.
Grads Win 7-3
On Sun., March 5, the Nepean Raiders visited the Navan Memorial Centre to take on the Navan Grads and lost 7-3.
Luca Sandu got the start between the pipes for Nepean while the league leader in wins, Braedyn McIntosh was in goal for Navan.
Tio D’Addorio got things started for Navan with his 18th of the season beating Sandu high over the blocker on a shot from the high slot.
Blake Butler made it 2-0 after pouncing on a shot that carombed off the back boards and beat Sandu to the near post. Michael Urgo picked up a short-handed goal with Max Donohoe booked for Cross Checking. Gabriel Crete won the race to the puck behind the Nepean goal and sent it out in front to Urgo who had his initial shot blocked by Sandu before roofing the puck over a prone Nepean netminder.
Nicolas Papineau got Nepean on the board with a shot from the left faceoff dot beating McIntosh through the five-hole for his ninth of the season. Anthony Rivard picked up the assist.
D’Addorio picked up his second of the game on some good lateral puck movement by the Grads that had Sandu moving from side to side but the blast beat the Raiders’s keeper to the far post. Blake Hall made it 5-1 on a breakaway beating Sandu low blocker side. Owen Parsons put Navan up 6-1 on a PowerPlay goal with Luke Posthumus in the box for Slashing. The Raiders made a goaltending change with Joshua Branton coming in to relieve Sandu.
Papineau then picked up his second of the game on the PowerPlay with Calum Chau in the box for Interference. The goal came on a howitzer from the left-handed shot at the right-faceoff dot. Jackson Barnes and Seamus Lockhart had the helpers.
Owen Parsons scored his second of the period and 28th of the season to put him in a tie for fifth place in CCHL goals.
Jack Matsukubo picked up his tenth goal of the season in the third on a sharp-angle shot after Luke Posthumus made a nifty move in the neutral zone to give himself a mini breakaway. Posthumus’ attempt was thwarted by defenseman Cameron Vassos but the puck found Matsukubo at the edge of the right faceoff circle and he made no mistake burying it past McIntosh.
The Raiders wrap up the season Sun. March 19 at home as they face the Hawkesbury Hawks. Face off at the Stevie Y is 2:30 p.m.