by Romano Di Franco
CORNWALL, ON – The Nepean Raiders were on the road for the first of two games in two nights. The Raiders took on the Cornwall Colts at the Ed Lumley arena on Thursday night.
The Raiders are 0-2 after a pair of 5-3 losses at home while the host Colts are 1-0 after a shutout win over the Pembroke Lumber Kings.
Nepean started Gage Stewart in goal while Dax Easter took his perfect 0.00 GAA and 1.000 Save Percentage into the game for Cornwall.
It was the Raiders who opened the scoring after Luka Benoit found Jordon Graham in the neutral zone who dished off to Luke Posthumus who worked his way around Cornwall d-man Zack Speck-Meek beating Easter five-hole to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders found themselves on a PowerPlay a couple of minutes later after Nicolas Elie was assessed an Interference penalty. However it was Brendan Fraser who scored the short-handed goal after Nepean got a bad bounce when a harmless looking clearing attempt by 18 bounced off Coleman Bennett’s skate. Bennett got tangled up with a linesman leaving Fraser all alone with the puck in the slot and his backhand-forehand move beat Steward to tie the game at 1-1.
After 20 minutes the teams were deadlocked at one apiece with Cornwall outshooting Nepean 10-6.
Brandon Reinsich restored the Raider lead in the first minute of second period action banking a shot from behind the net off Easter and into the back of the net. The play was initially called no goal but was then ruled a goal seconds later. Jacob Dupont had the helper to put Nepean up 2-1.
Zack Speck-Meek banged home a Liam Verdoni rebound to square the score at 2-2.
The Raiders had a chance to go ahead when Ryan Liverman was hauled down by Speck-Meek on a breakaway and was awarded a Penalty Shot. Liverman attempted to go five-hole but Easter shut the dooor keeping the game tied.
Chaka-Benjamin Ntumba-Muntu gave the Colts their first lead of the game after Stewart mishandled the puck behind the net and found himself trying to make a desperation stop behind the net but the Cornwall forward drilled the puck home from point-blank range.
The second period ended with Cornwall sporting a 3-2 lead and the teams tied at 18 shots each.
Nepean tied it up on a PowerPlay with Nolan Gagner in the box for Interference. The Raiders had excellent puck movement with all five players touching the puck. The puck went from Tyler Melvin to Luke Posthumus to Joshua Reid to Coleman Bennett at the point making the high-IQ cross-ice pass to a wide open Ryan Liverman whose wrist shot beat a sliding Dax Easter to the near post.
The two teams ended regulation time all knotted up at 3-3.
The two teams traded chances in the overtime frame with Nepean coming closest after Harris Hilfiker rang the puck off the post after a terrific saucer pass from Liverman. The Colts’ best chance was stuffed by Stewart robbing both Tristan Miron and Liam Verdoni.
OT decided nothing and the two teams went to a shootout.
1. NEP Posthumus – NO GOAL
1. COR Nolan Gagnon – GOAL
2. NEP Tyler Melvin – NO GOAL
2. COR Kove Tallman – NO GOAL
3. NEP Jack Matsukubo – GOAL
3. COR John Richer – GOAL
Nolan Gagnon’s goal was particularly nice and Matsukubo’s goal was a quality finish as well. Richer’s goal in the third round of the shootout proved to be the winner.
Despite the loss, the Raiders earned their first point of the young season and the Nepean PowerPlay is now ranked #2 in the league.
Bradley Fraser (1G | 1A) was named the game’s first star, Luke Posthumus (1G) snagged the lone star for Nepean as second star, Zack Speck-Meek (1G) got the nod as the third star.
Ryan Liverman with the game-tying goal and breakaway that resulted in a Penalty Shot was named the Hardest Working Raider.
Nepean is right back at it Friday night with a match against the Hawkesbury Hawks at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex for a 7:30 pm puck drop.
Special thanks to CKDJ 107.9 FM for providing the audio for the first period after technical difficulties during the HockeyTV broadcast.
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