by Romano Di Franco
HAWKESBURY, ON – The Nepean Raiders made the 111 km trek to the Robert Hartley Sports Complex to take on the Hawkesbury Hawks. The Raiders are trying to put an end to a six-game skid back while the Hawks are attempting to end a four-game losing streak of their own.
Nathan Loisel (1-2, 4.11 GAA) got his third straight start for the Raiders while Dimitri Pelekos (5-2-1, 2.52 GAA) was between the pipes for the Hawks.
It was Hawkesbury that struct first when Jakson Kirk buried a 3-1 chance through the five-hole from the right face-off dot. The Raiders had a chance to equalize after penalties to Mark Cooper (Slashing) and Jeremy Quesnel (Cross Checking) gave Nepean a 5-3 man-advantage for the better part of 90 seconds. They came away empty and then the Raiders went down 2-0 after Rylee Hlusiak sent one over the glove of Loisel from point-blank range.
The Raiders then stormed back with two goals of their own in a span of 10 seconds. First it was Affiliate player Luka Benoit with his first of the season beating Pelekos with Eric Chamandy draped all over him. The play was started by Samuel Beaulne in his own end. He fed Louis Chabot in the neutral zone who dished to Benoit at centre ice before he took the puck the distance. Ryan Liverman then scored from an impossible angle as he threw a shot at the Hawkesbury goal that somehow eluded Pelekos. Samuel Beaulne notched his 10th assist of the season to lead all Raiders defenseman while Coleman Bennet recorded his 9th assist to keep pace.
After 20 minutes the game was locked at 2-2 with the Hawks leading in shots at 16-10.
The Raiders thought they had their first lead of the game when Louis Chabot fired a shot from the right-hand boards that beat Pelekos. The goal was immediately waived off as the referee said that Rylan Iwachniuk interfered with the Hawks keeper.
Jakson Kirk had a break-away and he crashed in to Raiders’ keeper Nathan Loisel. Loisel took issue with the rough stuff and gave some back to Kirk. The play ended with Loisel being ejected from the game and his five-minute major was served by Jack Matsukobo. Connor Shibley came in to take on the duties in goal and the Raiders ended up killing the major penalty with no damage done.
It was Luka Benoit who did put the Raiders out in front with his second of the night. Rylan Iwachniuk took the puck from the corner to the net and backhanded a shot that Pelekos stopped. Benoit was there to tap in the rebound to send the Raiders up 3-2.
After 40 minutes it was the Raiders who led despite being outshot in the period 11-9 and 27-19 overall.
The Hawks pressed in the third and took the play to Nepean. It took the Raiders almost 15 minutes into the period before they could register their first shot on net. The Hawks then got a pair of goals by William Gendron and Josh Spratt in a 90-second span to go up 4-3.
The Raiders had a PowerPlay late in the game and pulled Shibley for the extra attacker as they were urgently looking for the tying goal but it was Jeremy Quesnel who would ice the game with the empty netter to give Hawkesbury a 5-3 victory.
Hawks forwards William Gendron (1G | 1A) was named the game’s first star with Nepean Raider AP Luka Benoit (2G) earning the second star honours in his Raiders debut. Hawks D-man Mark Cooper (2A) was the third star.
Raider netminder Nathan Loisel (17 saves on 19 shots) was named the hardest working Raider for his spirited play despite not finishing the game.
The Raiders next game is Sunday, December 12 as they are back at home to take on the Kemptville 73s at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena for a 2:30pm puck drop.