NAPANEE – The home teams have had a little bit more in a hard-fought first two games of the PJHL Tod Division final.
At the Strathcona Paper Centre, Friday, the Raiders evened the series with a 2-1 win, scoring early and holding off an Amherstview onslaught late. Raider net minder Bailey Maracle saw 18 of the 39 shots he faced in the third period, but he stood tall to secure the win to tie the series.
Beckett Palmer-Stephen opened the scoring on a first-period penalty shot, taking advantage of a misstep by Jeremy Piazzi moving left to right that didn’t allow the Jets goaltender to full set in his net. Palmer-Stephen had been hooked on the earlier play, preventing him from getting in the clear.
The eventual game winner came off the stick of Soren Zamuner just 52 seconds into the second period. He capitalized amid heavy pressure from the Raiders at the net front.
Brayden Robinson put Amherstview on the board with 8:23 to play.
It was the Jets that led early and held on in Game 1 at Henderson Arena. Jakob Leonard would open the scoring 4:41 in after a loose puck was chipped away from Maracle at the side of the net. Just 19 seconds later, Mathieu Halle increased the lead, scoring after a direct face-off win from Dawson Frost. Aidan Johnson kept the score close with a nice tip of a Noah Westwater point shot in the latter half of the first.
Jack Wiley restored the Amherstview two-goal lead 2:29 into the second before the Raider power play would claw back with two consecutive goals off the sticks of Ben Chubbs and Matt Sheehy to tie. Although it wouldn’t give up a power play goal, discipline would cost Napanee also as retaliatory penalties negated a five-on-three advantage and another power play in the third.
The Jets got what they needed from their top line as Halle beat Maracle through traffic with 6:51 left for the game winner.
Napanee had strong pressure with the goalie pulled late, but could not beat Piazzi. The Jets net minder turned aside 30 shots and Maracle 24.
Game 3 goes in Amherstview Sunday, April 10 and Game 4 in Napanee Tuesday, April 12.