by Romano Di Franco
NEPEAN, ON – The Nepean Raiders played their season opener as well as home opener hosting the Kemptville 73s in front of a great crowd.
Kemptville came into the game after a 2-2 pre-season record while the Raiders had were 2-3 in exhibition play. Both teams are coming off narrow losses with the 73s losing 4-2 to the Ottawa Junior Senators and the Raiders getting edged 3-2 by the Navan Grads.
Conor Blackwood was between the pipes for Kemptville while Gage Stewart got the nod in the Nepean goal.
It was the 73s that had the first great scoring chance of the game after Nolan Mozer was called for Tripping on a Benjamin Campeau break-away resulting in a penalty shot for the visitors. Gage Stewart came deep out of his net to cut down the angle and tracked Campeau back to the net making the subsequent glove save to deny Kemptville.
It was Nepean that would draw first blood on a goal by captain Coleman Bennett who one-timed a Luke Posthumus over the shoulder of Blackwood. The blast came from the high slot with Ryan Liverman picking up the other helper on the goal.
Both teams opened things up more in the second period with the 73s scoring three straight goals including a pair by Chase Lammi and Patrick Haughian that came just 19 seconds apart. Lammi added his second of the game to make it a 3-1 lead for Kemptville. All three goals came from point-blank range with the first two coming off rebounds.
Nepean responded quickly after Jack Matsukubo took a long lead pass from Harris Hilfiker and made no mistake streaking down the right wing and roofing a shot over the glove of Blackwood. Matsukubo continues his hot hand after scoring three goals in the pre-season. The goal came just 75 seconds after Lammi’s second to cut the Kemptville lead to 3-2.
The Raiders got the equalizer just 40 seconds later after Joshua Reid deflected a Ryan Liverman blast from the top of the left face-off circle. Coleman Bennett added his second point of the game on the goal.
The wild second period came to an end with the two teams deadlocked at 3-3.
Over 18 minutes went by in the third with overtime looming before Ty White would restore the 73s lead taking the puck around the net and back in front sending a wrist shot that somehow squeezed through Stewart’s left arm and body. Just like that the visitors went up 4-3 and iced the game a minute later with an empty-netter to give Chase Lammi the hat-trick.
The Raiders PowerPlay was in excellent form with a pair of goals. Nepean moved the puck well throughout the game getting their fair-share of quality scoring opportunities.
Chase Lammi (3G | 1A) was awarded the game’s first star while the goalies grabbed the other two slots with Conor Blackwood(28 saves) and Gage Stewart (27 saves) went 2 and 3 respectively.
Nepean bids farewell to summer and are back at it on Sunday, September 25 for their first game of the fall season at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena as they take on the Renfrew Wolves for a 2:30 puck drop.
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