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Lefebvre, Beaulne, Graham Score in Loss to Bears

by Romano Di Franco

SMITHS FALLS, ON – The Nepean Raiders played their next-to-last game of the season on Friday night as they travelled to the Smiths Falls Memorial Arena to take on the Sean James-led Smiths Falls Bears. The game was a must-win for the Bears as they are battling the Rockland Nationals for the final playoff spot.

The Raiders have a record of 1-2-1 against the Bears including an OT win and an OT loss. The two most previous meetings were 8-0 and 5-0 shutout wins for Smiths Falls.

Nathan Loisel (5-13-1, 0.884 SV%, 4.83 GAA) got the start in the net for Nepean while Will McEvoy (17-8-1, 0.908 SV%, 3.20 GAA) was between the pipes for Smiths Falls.

Zachary Lefebvre opened the scoring for the Raiders with a PowerPlay goal just 2:28 into the period. Smiths Falls’ Jacob Lesser (Roughing) and Sean James (Cross Checking) were sent to the box along with Raiders D-man Adam Cater (Roughing) at the 1:22 mark. Lefebvre corralled Coleman Bennett’s cross-ice pass and roofed it over McEvoy to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.

Nepean extended the lead to 2-0 after Chase Campeau won a faceoff in the Bears’ zone. The puck found its way to Samuel Beaulne and his point-shot beat McEvoy. Louis Chabot had the other helper.

Brody Fournier closed the gap with his 35th of the season one-timing a Riley Thompson pass from behind the net by Loisel.

After 20 minutes the Raiders had a 2-1 lead despite being outshot 12-10.

Penalties cost Nepean early in the second. Minors to Anthony Rivard (Cross Checking) and Nolan Mozer (Tripping) saw the Bears cash in twice to pull ahead 3-2. They struck again after Louis Chabot was assessed an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty that Riley Thompson cashed in on to make it 4-2 Smiths Falls.

Brody Fournier’s second of the game was the Bears’ fourth PowerPlay goal of the second period as the Bears went out in front by a 5-2 score.

After 40 minutes, Smiths Falls led by three and outshot Nepean 13-9 in the period to go up 25-19.

Jordan Graham pulled Nepean within two with his seventh of the season tapping home a rebound off a Tyler Melvin shot from the blue line. Hustle by Chase Campeau started the play though he was not credited with an assist on the play.

The Raiders pulled Loisel for the extra attacker but it was Sean James who found the back of the net to ice the game and give Smiths Falls the 6-3 victory.

Brody Fournier (3G | 2A) was named the game’s first star, Sean James (1G | 3A) got the nod as second star. Tyler Melvin (1A) earned the third star.

Zachary Lefebvre (1G | 1A) was named the hardest working Raider with his team leading 24th goal.

Nepean went over the 1000 minute mark in penalties for the season.

The Raiders conclude their 2021-2022 campaign on Saturday afternoon with a game against the Cornwall Colts at the Ed Lumley Arena for a 2:00pm puck drop.