by Romano Di Franco
SMITHS FALLS, ON – The Nepean Raiders travelled to the Smiths Falls Memorial Centre to take on the Bears. Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena.
It was the fourth meeting between the two teams and each team has an OT win in the other team’s barn and third game was an 8-0 blowout win for Smiths Falls back at the Sportsplex back on February 27.
Nathan Loisel (4-11-1, 0.886 SV%, 4.80 GAA) got the start in the net for Nepean while Will McEvoy (12-8-1, 0.905 SV%, 3.29 GAA) got the start between the pipes for Smiths Falls.
The Raiders had four call-ups after the Nepean Raiders U18 team ended their season winning the championship over the Navan Grads U18 team. U18 League MVP Luke Posthumus, Rookie of the Year Cole Beaudoin, and Nicholas Larkin who was named Top Defenseman were in the lineup along with Luka Benoit who led the league in scoring in the playoffs.
The two teams skated to a scoreless first with Smiths Falls outshooting Nepean 7-5 in the first. The best chance for either team came at with about six minutes left in the period after Thomas Gangl sent the puck around the boards and behind the Raider net. Loisel went back to stop the puck but it took a funny bounce and landed just in front of the vacated Raider net that Jordan Graham was forced to clear.
Thomas Gangl opened the scoring midway through in the second period beating Loisel over the glove from in close.
Owen Watson made it 2-0 after poking home a loose puck on the goal line. Nathan Loisel made a spectacular first save but the puck sailed over his head and he missed catching it with his glove allowing the Johnny-on-the-spot Watson to tuck it home.
Tyler Melvin and Zachary Lefebvre had the best chance in the second period for the Raiders but Lefebvre failed to score after getting cross-checked by Isaac Barrett.
After 40 minutes, the Bears were up 2-0. Shots in the period were 9 apiece to give the overall edge to Smiths Falls at 16-14.
The third period was all Smiths Falls as they pocketed three more goals from Will Rivet, Sean James, and Riley Thompson to make it a 5-0 final.
Will McEvoy (23 saves, 2nd shutout) was named the game’s first star, Sean James (1G | 2A) got the nod as second star. Raiders’ defenseman Todd Northgrave earned the third star.
Nathan Loisel was named the hardest working Raider with 20 saves on 25 shots.
The Raiders are in action again on Sunday as they host the Brockville Braves at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena for a 2:30pm puck drop.