by Romano Di Franco
NAVAN, ON – The Nepean Raiders visited the Navan Memorial Centre to take on the Navan Grads for the fifth and final time this season. The Grads hold the edge in the season series at 3-1. The Grads have punched their ticket to the post season and are 3-1-0-1 in their last five games.
Luca Sandu (6-18-1, 4.97 GAA, 0.882 SV %) got the start between the pipes for Nepean while the league leader in wins, Braedyn McIntosh (28-8-3-1, 2.42 GAA, 0.920 SV %), was in goal for Navan.
Tio D’Addorio got things started for Navan with his 18th of the season beating Sandu high over the blocker on a shot from the high slot.
Blake Butler made it 2-0 after pouncing on a shot that carombed off the back boards and beat Sandu to the near post. Michael Urgo picked up a short-handed goal with Max Donohoe booked for Cross Checking. Gabriel Crete won the race to the puck behind the Nepean goal and sent it out in front to Urgo who had his initial shot blocked by Sandu before roofing the puck over a prone Nepean netminder.
Nicolas Papineau got Nepean on the board with a shot from the left faceoff dot beating McIntosh through the five-hole for his ninth of the season. Anthony Rivard picked up the assist.
After 20 minutes the Grads had a 3-1 lead outshooting the Raiders 13-9.
D’Addorio picked up his second of the game on some good lateral puck movement by the Grads that had Sandu moving from side to side but the blast beat the Raiders’s keeper to the far post. Blake Hall made it 5-1 on a breakaway beating Sandu low blocker side. Owen Parsons put Navan up 6-1 on a PowerPlay goal with Luke Posthumus in the box for Slashing. The Raiders made a goaltending change with Joshua Branton coming in to relieve Sandu.
Papineau then picked up his second of the game on the PowerPlay with Calum Chau in the box for Interference. The goal came on a howitzer from the left-handed shot at the right-faceoff dot. Jackson Barnes and Seamus Lockhart had the helpers.
Owen Parsons scored his second of the period and 28th of the season to put him in a tie for fifth place in CCHL goals.
After 40 minutes Navan had a commanding 7-2 lead outshooting Nepean 20-9.
Jack Matsukubo picked up his tenth goal of the season in the third on a sharp-angle shot after Luke Posthumus made a nifty move in the neutral zone to give himself a mini breakaway. Posthumus’ attempt was thwarted by defenseman Cameron Vassos but the puck found Matsukubo at the edge of the right faceoff circle and he made no mistake burying it past McIntosh.
The final score was 7-3 Navan with shots in their favour 55-25.
Tio D’Addorio (2G | 1A) took away first star honours while Owen Parsons (2G) was named the game’s second star. Nepean’s Nicolas Papineau (2G) captured third star honours.
Seamus Lockhart is named the Hardest Working Raider picking up his first CCHL point of his career.
Nepean has just four games remaining in the season and face the Ottawa Junior Senators at the Fred Barrett Arena on Saturday for an 8:10pm puck drop.
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