by Romano Di Franco
NEPEAN, ON – The Nepean Raiders hosted the Hawkesbury Hawks at the Nepean Sportsplex – Steve Yzerman Arena. It was the second meeting between the two teams with Hawkesbury winning 7-2 in their own barn.
The Hawks entered the game on a two-game win streak while the Raiders came off a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Robinson Division leading Smiths Falls Bears.
Dekon Randell-Snow (3-4, 3.36 GAA, 0.912 SV%) got the start in the Hawkesbury goal while Gage Stewart (1-9, 3.39 GAA, 0.907 SV%), was in goal for Nepean.
Hawkesbury opened the scoring with a little bit of luck after Antoine Dorion scored from behind the goal line as he bounced the puck off Stewart and into the net. The unassisted goal put the visitors up 1-0.
Nepean got that goal back on the PowerPlay as Curtiss Sturgeon scored his third of the season on a blast from the top of the face-off circle. Jack Matsukubo and Nicholas Larkin had the helpers on the goal.
The Hawkes regained the lead on a 2-on-1 when Antoine Dorion flipped the puck over a sprawling Tristan Caldwell right to Nathan Gagne who made mistake tipping the pass by Stewart.
After 20 minutes the Raiders trailed 2-1 despite outshooting the Hawks 14-10.
The second period was pretty quiet with neither team registering a goal. Hawkesbury had the only PowerPlay after Tristan Caldwell was booked for Tripping. The Raiders best chance came on a shot by Sturgiss but he hit the post.
The second period was dead-even with both teams scoring once on 12 shots each.
The Raiders pulled the game even at 2-2 with a short-handed goal by Jacob Dupont. It came with Shane Moodie in the box for Holding. Anthony Rivard stole the puck in his own zone and skated out with Dupont with him. The 2-on-1 saw Rivard bounce the puck off Dupont’s skate right to his stick and Dupont sent it past Randell-Snow.
Nathan Gagne restored the Hawks’s lead with an unassisted goal after the Raiders made a line change that saw Gagne skate in all alone.
With time winding down things got interesting as Nepean pulled Stewart for the extra attacker and the Hawks were assessed a Boarding penalty to give the Raiders a 6-on-4 advantage. They had their chances but in the end the Hawks escaped the Sportsplex with a 3-2 victory.
Nepean outshot Hawkesbury in every period but came up just a bit short.
Nathan Gagne (2G) was named the game’s first star. Curtiss Sturgeon (1G) took second star honours while Antoine Dorion (1G | 1A) got the nod as the game’s third star.
Jacob Dupont is named the Hardest Working Raider.
Nepean closes out their December schedule with a home-and-home series against cross-town rivals the Ottawa Junior Senators with the first game going at the Fred Barrett Arena for an 8:10pm puck drop.
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