Sandu Makes 36 Saves in Loss to Braves

by Romano Di Franco

KEMPTVILLE, ON – The Nepean Raiders faced off against the Brockville Braves during the CCHL Winter Showcase on Tuesday night.

Both teams have seen a lot of overtime recently with the Braves having gone to extra time four times and the Raiders two times in each teams respective last five games. This meeting was the last time that these two teams would face each other this season with Brockville having the 3-1 edge in the season series.

Sami Molu (10-9-1-2, 2.68 GAA, 0.920 SV%) got the nod in goal for Brockville while Luca Sandu (4-8, 4.24 GAA, 0.898 SV %) defended the goal for Nepean.

The Braves got the early jump on Nepean as Jake Laville scored just 15 seconds into the game. The goal came on a deflection from a point-shot by Josh Cole. The goal dribbled across the line before Sandu could pounce on it. Brockville scored a pair of goals before the midway point of the first to make it 3-0 on goals by Matt Yeager and Eric Barnard. The Yeager goal came on a delayed penalty while Barnard scored on a deflection during a PowerPlay.

After 20 minutes of play the Braves held a 3-0 lead outshooting Nepean 19-8.

Ty Henry made it 4-0 Brockville with a blast from just inside the right face-off circle beating Sandu with a wristshot high over the Nepean netminder’s blocker. The Raiders’ best chance came on a beautiful pass by Curtiss Sturgeon right on the stick of Luca Ricciardi at the mouth of the goal but Molu slid across the crease to deny Sturgeon.

The two teams headed to the dressing room with Brockville ahead on both the scoreboard and shots. The Braves threw 13 shots on Sandu while Molu turned away the seven shots he faced.

Brockville kept their foot on the pedal and Nathan Burelle chased Sandu from the game with his second of the season sending the Braves up 5-0. To his credit, the majority of goals came on deflections or rebounds.

Nepean’s best chance in the third came on a shot from the slot by Luke Posthumus but Sami Molu flashed the leather to rob the Nepean rookie.

Jaden Cholette made five saves in relief. Molu picked up his third shutout of the season. Final shot totals were 49 for Brockville and 19 for Nepean.

Lucas Culhane (2A) was named the game’s first star. Colin Elliot (1A) picked up second star honours while Nicolas Papineau got the nod as the game’s third star.

Luca Sandu was named hardest working Raider making 36 saves on 41 shots.

Nepean is in back in action for their second game in two nights as they host the Pembroke Lumber Kings at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena. Puck drop is at 7:30 pm.

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