by Romano Di Franco
NEPEAN, ON – The Nepean Raiders hosted the Rockland Nationals at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena.
It was the fifth and final meeting between the two teams with Rockland holding a 3-1 edge in the previous four. Rockland came into the game 1ith a record of 0-3-1-1 in their last five while the Raiders are 1-4 in the same span.
Charles Schenkel (1-2-1, 0.906 SV%, 3.76 GAA) got the start in the net for Rockland while Nathan Loisel (4-10-1, 0.885 SV%, 4.83 GAA) got the start between the pipes for the home team.
Patrick Lanthier opened the scoring for Rockland after jamming home a rebound in the crease. Zachary Lefebvre tied the game up with his team-leading 21st of the season. The goal came on the PowerPlay after Manny Cabral was sent off for Kneeing. Anthony Rivard started the play by going cross-ice to Jack Hillier who fired a shot from the point. Schenkel made the first save but Lefebvre pounced on the rebound and slipped into the net.
The period ended with the two teams deadlocked at one apiece. Rockland had the edge in shots at 18-11.
Yanic Crête restored the Rockland lead with a short-handed goal to make it 2-1. The Raiders thought they had tied it after Tyler Melvin found the back of the net but the goal was waived off after an offside call. Alexandre Fréchette extended the lead to two goals. Loisel was expecting a shot from William Pilon but it was Frechette who took a whack at the puck squeaking it through the pads of the Nepean netminder.
The Raiders made it a one-goal game after Louis Chabot made a between the legs drop pass to Coleman Bennett who worked his way around the Rockland defence before dishing off to Jordan Graham who tapped the puck into a wide-open net.
After 40 minutes, it was Rockland up 3-2 after outshooting Nepean 18-16 in the second period.
Todd Northgrave tied the game at 3-3 on a shot from the blue line that may have deflected off a Rockland skate. Owen Hollingsworth had the helper.
Alexandre Fréchette got his second of the game to put Rockland up 4-3 before Yanic Crête iced the game with an empty-netter. Final shots on net were 51-48 after the Raiders pelted Rockland with 21 shots in the final frame.
Alexandre Fréchette (2G) was named the game’s first star, Yanic Crête (2G | 1A) got the nod as second star. Raiders’ goalie Nathan Loisel (46 saves on 50 shots) third star.
Zachary Lefebvre (1G) was named the hardest working Raider.
The Raiders are in action again on Friday as they travel to the Smiths Falls Memorial Centre to take on the Bears for a 7:30pm puck drop.