Chris Smith’s last min. goal was the game winner as the Hawkesbury Hawks defeated the Nepean Raiders 3-2.
Smith beat Raider netminder Liam Souliére with 53 seconds remaining, giving Nepean its ninth-straight-loss.
“Well it’s tough to not get a point after playing that well but I was telling the guys we have to take positives out of this one. They’re a top three team, we outshot them and thought we dominated those last five min.,” said Raider head coach Darcy Findlay.
New acquisition James Buckley opened the scoring for the Raiders with a powerplay goal early into the first period with helpers from Antoine Belisle and Olivier Gauthier.
The goal was his first with Nepean after being acquired on Dec. 2.
After the Hawks scored consecutive goals from David Jankowski and Alec Beaudin-Tougas, Graham Denomme whacked home a loose puck off a Gauthier wraparound to tie the game at two.
Soulière was solid between the pipes despite the loss, stopping 30 of 33 Hawkesbury shots.
“For the first time in a long time everybody on our team played well. Everybody on our team competed and there were positive vibes afterward. The key is to do that consistently, then you build on it and get rewarded.”
The game marked the first time Kari Belec played in Nepean wearing a visiting jersey. The longtime Raider and former co-captain was held scoreless in his return.
The Raiders are in Navan on Sun.