A pair of quick starts on back-to-back nights proved a remedy for a slower start plaguing the Napanee Raiders.
Heading into November, the Raiders found themselves in unfamiliar territory, slipping into fifth place with a sub-.500 start. They found their focus with hard practices and a players meeting then rolled to a perfect four-point weekend, beating Port Hope 4-2 and Campbellford 9-3 to even their record.
With the division-leading Panthers in town Friday night, the Raiders had three goals within the first three minutes to chase goaltender Ethan Reynaud from the net. After defender Ryan Kidd opened the scoring by stepping up to find a loose puck in a scramble, leading scorer Marshall McFarland added another just five seconds later on a knuckling dump-in. Trent Williams scored with a man advantage shortly thereafter.
Josh Sainthill got the Panthers on the board with a tip-in before the halfway point of the first. Napanee’s Reid Lambert and Port Hope’s Geoff Boates traded second period goals but there was no further scoring. Raiders’ starter Logan Vale turned away 18 of 20 shots hurled his way by the Panthers, while Port Hope’s Dominic Marquis was solid in stopping 27 of 28.
Saturday, the Raiders found a first visit to Campbellford to their liking with a 5-0 edge in the first period. The quick start was highlighted by two goals in 11 seconds from call-up Jayden Holden of the Napanee U-18 Stars. Ben Carter scored his first goal of the season, while Williams and Cam Krupa also found the range.
The host Rebels would actually outscore the Raiders in the second 3-2 on goals by Aiden Treverton, Anton Kolluru and Andrew Eriksson. Blake Aylesworth and Lambert also found the net, however making it 7-3 after two.
Carter killed any momentum toward a hometown comeback with his second goal 54 seconds into the last period, then Krupa managed his own second tally near the halfway marker.
Ethan Babin claimed the win and Jayden Tang, the loss.
The Raiders move into one of the busiest weekends on their schedule travelling to Picton Nov. 9, hosting Frankford Nov. 10 and then finishing with a matinee against the Amherstview Jets at Henderson Arena Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Napanee sits two points back of third-place Picton with a game in hand and one point back of fourth-place Amherstview with two in hand. Port Hope leads the division with 23 points (one ahead of Frankford), while Campbellford is still looking for its first win.