NAPANEE – The story was similar from one Friday to the next, but the finish wasn’t as the Napanee Raiders had planned.
For a second consecutive week, the Raiders significantly outshot a visiting opponent only to find themselves in a tight game. Unlike opening night against Campbellford, where Napanee was ahead, the Raiders found themselves trailing in the dying minutes against Picton. With goaltender Sam Closs pulled, Michael Patrick capitalized on a scramble with 1:53 left to save a 5-5 tie.
Napanee also carried the play for the balance of the seven-minute extra stanza, but couldn’t beat Pirates goaltender Ethan Schwarz – even with a full two-minute advantage with former Raider Jakob DaCosta off for holding. Schwarz would chip in eight saves in overtime, giving him 51 overall on the day.
After giving up a breakaway goal to local native Jack Osborne on the game’s first shift, the Raiders settled in to grab a comfortable 3-1 lead after 20 minutes with scoring coming from Ben White, Blake Aylesworth, and Marshall McFarland.
The second period was Picton’s opportunity to strike back with Luc Amat and Cole Stevenson beating Closs in succession to send the teams to the dressing rooms even.
In the third, McFarland continued his hot hand to put the home side ahead about halfway through, only to see the Pirates respond with two goals in less than as many minutes off the sticks of Stevenson and Parker Mattis.
The Raiders have a busy weekend ahead. The Amherstview Jets will be in town for the first time Friday at 7:30 p.m., then Napanee hits the road to Port Hope Saturday for their first match-up with the team that upset them from last year’s Tod Division playoffs.