by Romano Di Franco
NEPEAN, ON – The Nepean Raiders were back at home as they hosted the Kemptville 73s in a Sunday matinee game at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena. The match-up pits the 73s who lead the league in short-handed goals scored with 6 against the Raiders who are tied for second in short-handed goals with 5 of their own.
The Raiders continue to be plagued with injuries that kept Own Hollingsworth out of the lineup once again. Connor Shibley (5-8-1-1, 5.18 GAA) got the start in goal for the Raiders while former Nepean netminder Tyler Laureault (11-4-1, 2.31 GAA) was between the pipes for the 73s just six days ahead of his 20th birthday.
Kemptville drew first blood on a goal by Matthew O’Doherty and Ryan Cartwright added another shortly afterwards to go up 2-0 at the midway point of the first.
It was a fairly quick first period with just two goals and one penalty making the game sheet. Nepean managed to lead in shots at 13-12 while the 73s led on the scoreboard 2-0.
After 20 minutes the game was locked at 2-2 with the Hawks leading in shots at 16-10.
Zachary Lefebvre got the Raiders off the schneid with a PowerPlay goal 1:52 into the second period. Anthony Rivard passed the puck from Gretzky’s office that Lefebvre one-timed home from point-blank range. Jeff Taylor tied the game at 2-2 after Coleman Bennett stole the puck in the defensive zone and dished to Taylor who went coast-to-coast banging home his own rebound.
Hunter Brazier restored the Kemptville lead before Lefebvre potted his second of the goal to tie the game again this time at three apiece.
Matthew York put the 73s ahead once again with a PowerPlay goal after Tristan Caldwell was given the gate for Tripping. After 40 minutes Kemptville was out in front 4-3 as the Raiders extended their shots advantage to 35-24 after outshooting the 73s 22-12 in the second.
After 40 minutes it was the Raiders who led despite being outshot in the period 11-9 and 27-19 overall.
Hunter Brazier’s second of the game gave the 73s a 5-3 lead before former Raider Patrick Larkin made it 6-3 on a shot from the slot that beat Shibley over the glove side.
The scrappy Raiders kept fighting and Zachary Lefebvre completed the hat-trick with his 12th of the season. It was the Raiders’ second PowerPlay goal of the game and it cut the lead to 6-4.
The Raiders pulled Shibley for the extra attacker with a minute and a half to go in the game and it paid off in spades as Jeff Taylor notched his second of the game to make it 6-5. Nepean pulled Shibley again but this time it was Kemptville who scored to make it a 7-5 final in an extremely entertaining game.
73s leading scorer Hunter Brazier (2G | 1A) was named the game’s first star with Nepean Raider hat-trick man Zachary Lefebvre (3G | 1A) earning the second star honours. Kemptville netminder Tyler Laureault (45 saves on 50 shots) was the third star.
Jeff Taylor (2G) was named the hardest working Raider with honourable mention going to Coleman Bennett (3A).
The Raiders next game is Wednesday, December 15 as they host the Pembroke Lumber Kings at the Nepean Sportsplex Steve Yzerman Arena for a 7:30pm puck drop.