Raiders edge Rebels 3-2 in opener

NAPANEE –  The Napanee Raiders hit 21 in their first go-around Friday night, but the payout was delayed by Campbellford Rebels goaltender Brayden Friedrich, who had a stop for every shot fired in a lopsided first period. Ultimately, they would cash in for two points with a razor-thin 3-2 decision.

Two third period goals in just under two minutes proved the difference.  After not capitalizing on three earlier power plays, Napanee found the twine with their first advantage of the stanza. Defenceman Erik MacNiel zipped a low point shot along the ice past Friedrich 7:19 in to restore a Raiders lead.  Not much later, with heavy pressure, Ben Chubbs stepped over the blue line and fired a seeing-ice shot below the netminder’s glove as it appeared his team might have a comfortable lead.

Clearing effort – Defenceman Carter Hartwick wastes little time in firing the puck from his own zone during the third period of Friday’s opener.

Campbellford’s Jacoby Martin was the last one to find the puck in a scramble near Raider Logan Vale’s net and he’d bring the visitors within one. The Raiders tightened defensively and Vale was sound when he needed to be to hold on.

While the Raiders outshot the Rebels 57-27 overall, it would take 26:04 before the majority of the 436 in attendance had a scoring play to cheer.  Trent Williams goes in the books as the first scorer of the season, notching his first PJHL goal.  Bookending that goal, Napanee was on the penalty kill for nearly half of the second period.  They would suffer one blemish on a five-on-three disadvantage as Brock Kelsh bested Vale with 4:57 left in that stanza.

Late in the second, Vale made two difficult stops to keep the game tied in perhaps his busiest segment of a 25-save performance.

MacNiel, with a goal and an assist, and Blake Aylesworth, with two helpers paced the Napanee scoring.