by Romano Di Franco
The Nepean Raiders celebrated their home opener on Sunday afternoon against the Brockville Braves. Both teams come into game sporting the same 0-1 records each having lost to the Ottawa Junior Senators.
Evan Martin got the start in goal for the Raiders while Philip Rondina got the nod for the Braves.
Former Raider Evan Boucher opened the scoring at the 1:13 second mark taking the puck from the corner and skating towards the back of the net before cutting in front and tucking it past Martin. Luke Tchor made it 2-0 Brockville before Colin Stacey extended the lead to 3-0 when he stole the puck and went in on a break-away and buried it high glove side.
There was one more goal to be had before the end of the period. Stacey picked up his second of the period and fourth of the season with just four seconds left in the period to send the Braves up 4-0.
The Raiders defensive bench was shortened at the 15-minute mark when Todd Northgrave was assessed a Gross Misconduct penalty yielding him 10 minutes in the box and the rest of the afternoon off.
The Raiders had their share of chances but Rondina turned aside all 13 shots he faced. The Braves sent 15 shots on the Raiders net.
Connor Shibley relieved Evan Martin in goal to start the second period. All four goals were quality finishes where he had no chance. Shibley was tested early having to make a big stop off Marco Iozzo.
The teams traced penalties early in the second with Ryan Livermore going off for High Sticking for the Raiders. A few minutes later the Raiders would go on a powerplay of their own. Melvin had the best chance on the man-advantage shooting from the sharp-angle before Rondina smothered the puck to force a whistle.
Shibley continued to look sharp stopping a breakaway by Liam Goreski. Brockville continued to press and it paid off as Evan Boucher deflected a Kevin Fitzgerald pass over Shibley’s blocker. The Raiders best scoring opportunity of the period came when Carter Vollett skated in on a break-away only to see his shot go up and over the net.
After 40 minutes the Braves held a 5-0 lead although the shots on goal had the game much closer with Brockville having a 30-23 advantage. Shibley turned aside 14 of the 15 shots he faced.
The Raiders went on the PK early in the third period after Rylan Iwachniuk was assessed a cross-checking penalty. The Braves capitalized on it when Marco Iozzo snapped home a Colin Stacey pass in the slot. The Braves 6-0 would become 7-0 after Shibley made a huge save off Colin Elliott but Liam Goreski pounced on the rebound and sent it passed the sliding Nepean netminder.
The Raiders shut down any talk about a Rondina shutout as Carter Vollett deflected a Nolan Mozer shot from the point past a slightly screened Braves keeper. Coleman Bennet had the secondary helper. The game ended with the Brockville Braves notching a 7-1 final for their first win of the season.
The Raiders deserved a better fate but Philip Rondina stood on his head robbing many Raiders during the afternoon.
The first star was former Nepean Evan Boucher (2G, 1A). The second star was another former Raider, Colin Stacey (2G, 1A) while the third star went to the lone Nepean goal scorer Carter Vollett.
Tyler Melvin was named the hardest working Raider.
The next game for the Raiders will be October 1 as they face the Renfrew Wolves at the Ma-Te-Way Arena for a 7:30pm puck drop.