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Raiders Lead Wire to Wire Halting OJS 13-Game Win Streak

by Romano Di Franco

NEPEAN, ON – The Nepean Raiders hosted their cross-town rivals the Ottawa Junior Senators at the Nepean Sportsplex – Steve Yzerman Arena. It was the back-half of a home-and-home series which saw Ottawa take the first game 4-3.

The Sunday matinee was the third of five meetings between the two teams with Ottawa having the upper-hand 2-0 albeit with two one-goal victories.

Former Raider netminder Connor Shibley (12-2, 2.33 GAA, 0.925 SV%) was in goal for Ottawa while Luca Sandu (3-8, 4.35 GAA, 0.892 SV%) got the start between the pipes for Nepean.

Luca Ricciardi drew first blood for Nepean as he was johnny-on-the-spot to tap home a Jack Matsukubo shot from the slot. Harris Hilkier picked up his fourth assist of the season on the goal.

Xavier Guillemette was booted from the game for Checking from Behind on Seaumus Lockhart. Nepean took advantage of the shortened Junior Senators bench for the rest of the game.

Matsukubo played a huge part of Nepean’s second goal taking the puck around the net and opting for the pass to Josh Reid in the slot instead of attempting the wrap-around goal. Reid’s eighth of the season extended the Nepean lead to 2-0. Nicholas Larkin had the other helper.

Braxton Ross got one back for Ottawa a minute later with Ottawa on the PowerPlay with Coleman Bennett in the box for Cross Checking. Ross parked himself in front of Sandu and tipped home a pass from Zachary Losier.

The first 20 minutes were dominated by Nepean who outshot Ottawa 10-6.

Owen Hardy restored Nepean’s two-goal lead scoring on his old team for the second time in two days. Luka Benoit and Nicholas Larkin had the helpers.

After 40 minutes it was Nepean holding a 3-1 lead despite Ottawa dominating the middle frame outshooting Nepean 18-8. Luca Sandu was the difference maker with some outstanding saves to keep Nepean out in front.

Despite another one-sided period with Ottawa outshooting Nepean 13-5 it was Nepean that would score the lone goal in the period with Jordan Graham scoring on the empty net. Graham’s second of the season iced the game for Nepean and put a halt to Ottawa’s impressive 13-game winning streak.

Luca Sandu (37 saves on 39 shots) was named the game’s first star. Nicholas Larkin (2A) earned the second star while Zachary Losier (1G | 1A) got the nod as the game’s third star.

Luca Ricchiardi is named the Hardest Working Raider with opening goal and a scrap. Honorable mention to Owen Hardy who had the game winner against his old team.

The Raiders take a break for Christmas and are back in action in the new year visiting the Brockville Braves at the Brockville Memorial Centre for a Friday night matchup with a 7:30 pm puck drop.

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