by Romano Di Franco
ROCKLAND, ON – The Nepean Raiders visited the Rockland Arena – Pad 1 as they battled the Rockland Nationals. It was the second meeting of the season between the two teams and the first of a home-and-home where the second game goes in two days time. The Nats took the first game by a score of 4-1. The Raiders are coming off an impressive 4-1 win of their own over the the Smiths Falls Bears who are the top team in the CCHL.
Rockland sits in fifth spot in the Yzerman Division with a record of 8-8-1-2. The Raiders are in sixth place and looking to gain ground in their pursuit of a playoff spot.
The Raiders started Luca Sandu (3-4, 4.03 GAA, 0.904 SV%) between the pipes while Haydn Gould (5-6, 3.26 GAA, 0.903 SV%) defended the net for the Nationals.
Nicholas Larkin scored first to put the Raiders up 1-0. The unassisted goal came after Joshua Reid forced a turnover in the neutral zone. Larkin took the puck up the right side and pounced on his own rebound scoring from a sharp angle.
It was the only quality opportunity for Nepean in the period as could muster just five shots on Gould in the first 20 minutes. Sandu looked sharp stopping all 18 shots directed his way. His best save of the period came off a point-blank shot from former Raider Samuel Beaulne.
Curtiss Sturgeon was booked for Interference in the early minutes of the second period and Nicolas White made Nepean pay as he picked up his 14th goal of the season. His shot from the point beat Sandu over the glove. The Rockland would take the 2-1 lead on a goal by Jordan Prepszl this time it was a high shot over Sandu’s blocker. White picked up his second of the game with a carbon-copy of Prepszyl’s goal beating the Nepean netminder over the blocker to make it 3-1 Rockland. It could have been a lot more as the Nats outshot the Raiders 14-1 in the period.
The Raiders pressed in the third period and played the last three minutes with a man-advantage after Kellen Dostaler was assessed a five minute major for a Check To The Head. Nepean pulled Sandu for the extra attacker to play 6-on-4 but could not solve Gould. Nepean outshot Rockland 10-7 in the final stanza.
Nicolas White (2G) was named the game’s first star. Luca Sandu (36 saves on 39 shots) earned the second star while Yanic Crête (2A) notched the third star.
Nicholas Larkin (1G) is named the Hardest Working Raider pocketing his third goal of the season.
Nepean will host these same Rockland Nationals on Sunday afternoon at the Nepean Sportsplex – Steve Yzerman Arena for a 2:30pm puck drop.
Be sure to Subscribe, Like and Comment on the official Nepean Raiders YouTube channel.