by Romano Di Franco
NEPEAN, ON – The Raiders were in action on Sunday afternoon for the back-end of a home-and-home set against the Smiths Falls Bears. The Bears took the first game with a 4-3 OT win. The Halloween matchup saw the Raiders come into the game with a record of 2-2-1-0 in their last five games. The Bears entered with a 2-3 record in their last five.
Connor Shibley (4.41 GAA) got the start in goal for Nepean while Victor Desjardins (4.07 GAA) was between the pipes for Smiths Falls.
For the fifth time in their last seven games, the Raiders opened the scoring. This time it was Ryan Liverman with the Raiders on the PowerPlay after Nolan Mozer’s blast from the point hit a Smith Falls skate bounced right to Liverman who made no mistake. The play started off a pass from Coleman Bennet. Owen Hollingsworth stole the puck in the offensive zone and fed Jeff Taylor who tipped home the pass from the top of the crease to make it a 2-0 game.
The Bears got on the board late in the period when Brody Fournier made it a 2-1 game. After 20 minutes the Raiders skated off with the lead. They also outshot Smiths Falls 17-12.
Both teams lit the goal light in the second period with the Bears beating Shibley three times on goals by Colton Chipman, Ty Campbell and Jacob Lesser. For the Raiders it was Alex Bergeron who beat Desjardins with a backhand from the slot after a scramble in front of the net made possible by Rylan Iwachniuk and Louis Chabot. with his first CCHL goal before Anthony Rivard tied the game at 4-4 roofing one from in close. Costa Touliopoulos had the lone helper.
After 40 minutes the Raiders led in shots at 32-28. The Raiders PowerPlay was 1-for-2 while Smiths Falls were perfect at 2-for-2.
The Raiders pulled ahead in the third after the team leader in goals combined with the team’s leader in assists. Tyler Melvin beat Desjardins blocker-side off a Ryan Liverman feed. It was the 11th point of the season for both players.
With time ticking down, the Bears tied the game as Sean James stole the puck and snapped one past Shibley for an unassisted goal.
Regulation came to an end with the two teams deadlocked at 5-5 and both teams had 40 shots. The teams traded chances but after Shibley stopped a 3-on-1 chance by the Bears, Tyler Melvin took the rebound coast-to-coast and beat Desjardins to give the Raiders the 6-5 OT win and a near-perfect weekend series against Smiths Falls.
Nepean extended their point streak to 5 games when they score first.
OT-hero Tyler Melvin (2G) was named the game’s first star. Bears defenseman Ty Campbell (1G) was selected the second star while Alex Bergeron (1G) got the nod for third star.
Connor Shibley (1A) was named the hardest working Raider for his contribution on both offense and defense.
The Raiders next game is Wednesday night at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena as they host the Pembroke Lumber Kings for a 7:30pm puck-drop.