by Romano Di Franco
NEPEAN, ON – The Nepean Raiders hosted the the Ottawa Junior Senators at the Nepean Sportsplex – Steve Yzerman Arena. It was the first meeting of the season between the cross-town rivals and both teams enter with a record of three wins and two losses in their past five games.
The starting goalies for the afternoon tilt were former Raider netminder Connor Shibley (5-1-0-1, 2.13 GAA, 0.932 SV%) in goal for the Junior Sens Nepean Goal while Luca Sandu (2-1, 4.63 GAA, 0.898 SV%) guarded the goal for the home team.
The first period was a goaltending duel as both keepers turned aside everything thrown their way as Shibley stopped the 12 shots the Raiders threw at him while Sandu turned aside the 14 shots he faced. The best chance for the Raiders came on a short-handed chance by Joshua Reid. Reid was unabled to convert as he was hooked as he went to the OJS goal by Mickael Hebert to put an end to the Ottawa PowerPlay.
The Raiders’ PK was perfect as they killed off all three chances Ottawa had. They went 0-for-1 on their only mad-advantage chance as both teams headed to the dressing room tied at 0-0.
Both teams have made a habit of scoring first with OJS striking first in 10 of their first fourteen games while Nepean has scored in eight of their first 12 games. Ultimately it would be Nepean who would open the scoring in the first minute of the second period. Tyler Melvin picked up a loose puck in Junior Senators zone and skated through the Ottawa defense before depositing the puck behind Shibley for his fifth of the year. Joshua Reid and Nolan Mozer were credited with assists.
The lead would be short-lived however as Massimo Gentile replied for OJS just 37 seconds later to make it a 1-1 game. The visitors would take the lead on the PowerPlay after Brandon Reinisch was booked for Tripping. It was Emile Villiard tipping a Vincent Velocci shot from the slot that fluttered over the head of Sandu.
After 40 minutes the visitors sported a one goal lead up 2-1 after outshooting Nepean 11-10 in the middle frame.
The third period was all Nepean Raiders as they pressed for the equalizer. Despite outshooting OJS 15-8 in the third and 37-33 in the game it as Ottawa that would eke out a one-goal victory against a scrappy Raiders squad.
The goaltenders were the stars of the show as Connor Shibley (36 saves on 37 shots) and Luca Sandu (31 saves on 33 shots) nabbing star one and two respectively while Vincent Velocci (2A) taking home third-star honours.
Lone Raider goal-scorer Tyler Melvin is named the Hardest Working Raider picking up his fifth of the season.
Nepean opens their November schedule with anotheer Sunday matinee game at the Nepean Sportsplex – Steve Yzerman Arena as they host the Brockville Braves for a 2:30pm puck drop.
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