NAPANEE – The Raiders needed overtime and a good bounce to seal the deal in Game 5 – and they got it on a power play 1:01 into the extra frame.
A Noah Westwater point shot went over the net and bounced into a scrum in front of the net. Chris Edwards somehow found the puck to shovel it past Pirates goalie Nolan Lane, who turned aside 44 shots in a 3-2 defeat. It was the third goal off a Raider forward’s stick, following two games where none found the net. Earlier, Cameron Krupa and Ben Chubbs found the net.
The Pirates struck twice on the power play with Devin Morrison opening the scoring 2:37 into the contest and Noah Brant bookending just before the midway point of the third to send the game into overtime. They couldn’t solve Bailey Maracle at even strength as the Raider net minder turned aside 29 shots in the pivotal game.
Two days earlier, co-captain Westwater lifted the team on his back with a three-goal performance in a 4-2 win, the second game in two nights coming off Picton’s lone series win. Rheydan McCoy added another goal in the road effort. Ian Harrison was the lone Pirate to beat Maracle, who stopped 23 shots. Owen Willis took the loss for the Pirates, stopping 29.
Game 3 – a 4-2 Pirates win – was a see-saw effort. Picton got up early on goals by Hunter Matthysse and Noah Brant in the first, then McCoy and Westwater answered for Napanee in the second. Penalties swung the momentum toward Picton in the third as a Napanee unsportsmanlike conduct penalty wiped out a power play chance at 11:24. Just over a minute later, another Raider went to the box. Jack Dow capitalized at the side of the net on the power play. Brant would add an empty netter with 34 seconds left.
In the first two games, the Raiders controlled the scoreboard. The series started with three quick Raider goals in Game 1 as Ben White put two past Willis and Logan White one in the first. Soren Zamuner would add another in the second before Dow would fire Picton’s only goal of the 4-1 contest. In Game 2, Maracle shone in a 25-shot shutout that likely kept the Raiders from a different fate. Logan White and Ben Chubbs had the goals.
The win allowed the Raiders to advance to the Tod Division final.