by Romano Di Franco
NEPEAN, ON – The Nepean Raiders were back in action on Wednesday night as they hosted the Robinson Division leading Pembroke Lumber Kings. The Raiders are looking for their first win since beating Rockland 4-3 in OT back in November.
The Raiders continue to be plagued with injuries that kept Own Hollingsworth out of the lineup once again. Evan Martin (1-6, 5.15 GAA) got the start in goal for the Raiders while Dalton McBride (10-3, 2.83 GAA) was between the pipes for the Lumber Kings.
Pembroke struck first on a goal by Brady Egan who leads the teams in goals and assists. His 22nd of the season was followed 30 seconds later by a Caden Eaton goal to give the Lumber Kings a quick 2-0 lead.
Luka Benoit got his third goal in his last three games after Tyler Melvin put a nifty move on McBride left a wide-open net for Benoit to cut the lead to 2-1. Nicholas Larking got his first CCHL point with the other helper.
There were just two penalties in the first with Adam Cater (Boarding) and Coleman Bennett (High Sticking) going to the box. The Raiders killed off both penalties.
After 20 minutes the Lumber Kings were out in front 2-1 and also led in shots at 12-9.
The Affiliate Players kept up the contribution in the second period as Luke Posthumus picked up his first CCHL goal of his career on the PowerPlay with Jesse Kirkby in the box for Slashing. Posthumus took a pass from Coleman Bennett and waslked in and blasted a shot along the ice that beat McBride on the blocker side. Jeff Taylor had the other assist and with that the Raiders had tied the game at 2-2.
Nepean then jumped out to their first lead of the game when Jeff Taylor and Coleman Bennett combined again on Taylor’s 14 of the season. Bennett put a shot on McBride that he kicked out with his right pad right to Taylor who one-timed the rebound into the yawning cage to give the Raiders the 3-2 lead.
Brady Egan would tie the game with his second of the game and the second period ended with the two teams deadlocked at 3-a-piece. Nepean outshot Pembroke 15-10 in the period to take the overall lead in shots at 24-22.
The two teams traded chances in the third but it was Jack Stockfish who put the Lumber Kings up with 74 seconds left in the game.
The Raiders pulled Martin for the extra attacker but came away empty and ended up with a heartbreaking loss in a game that they nearly won.
Brady Egan (2G | 1A) was named the game’s first star with Nepean Raider AP Luka Benoit (1G) earning the second star honours. Jesse Kirkby (3A) was the third star.
Evan Martin (31 saves on 35 shots) was named the hardest working Raider robbing Jesse Kirkby of a goal in the second period.
Fast facts… Owen Hollingsworth is expected back from his wrist injury in the new year… Jack Hillier (5G | 6A) is in fifth place among rookies in scoring… The Raiders have the sixth-best PowerPlay in the league.
The Raiders are back at in two days with a Friday night matchup in Smiths Falls to take on the Bears with a 7:30pm puck drop.