Raiders sweep to Tod title

Champs - The Napanee Raiders are Tod Division champions again after sweeping past the Port Hope Panthers in four games in the division final.

NAPANEE – An unanticipated offensive surge lifted the Napanee Raiders to their 12th Tod Division championship as the team chipped in 24 goals in four games while sweeping the Port Hope Panthers in the division final by scores of 3-2, 7-3, 6-2, and 9-1.

The deciding game proved anti-climactic as Napanee went up four goals before the first period was over and continued to build its lead before 646 fans at the Strathcona Paper Centre. Blake Aylesworth and Reid Lambert paced the attack with two goals each. Ben White, Cam Krupa, Ben Carter, Trent Williams and Andrew Carr also scored.

Logan Vale would stop 18 of 19 shots for his seventh consecutive win.  Dailen Fousek had the lone goal for the visitors.

Strong finish – Overagers (from left) Cam Krupa, Ben Chubbs, Ben Carter, and Marshall McFarland celebrate with the Tod Trophy.

The series started out with a back-and-forth affair in Port Hope, Wednesday, March 27.  Carter Hartwick snuck a point shot home four minutes in to give the Raiders a lead, but Connor MacGregor tied it quickly with a speedy solo drive to the net. Brandon Rose had the Panthers ahead before the first stanza ended.

Krupa tied it with a deflection in the second, drove the net to score with 59 seconds remaining to give the Raiders the first points of the series.

Game 2 proved to be co-captain Ben White’s time to shine. His second and third goals of the night powered a four-goal Raiders second period that gave them a three-goal lead going into the final frame.  His efforts bookended goals by Carr and Carter.

An early Isaac Langdon goal appeared to give the Panthers life, but Krupa and Aylesworth tacked on Napanee tallies in the third.  Nate Burelle and Rose had Port Hope’s other goals.

Once again in Game 3, Port Hope came out strong, but Napanee’s depth took over.  Dylan Leslie and Burelle staked their team to a two-goal lead just over 12 minutes into the game.  Michael Patrick and Krupa would have it knotted by the end of the period.

Again, in the second, the Raiders had a four-goal outburst off the sticks of Carter, White, Krupa, and Aylesworth.

Napanee because the second fourth-seed in as many years to host the Tod Trophy, after Port Hope skated to victory last year in similar circumstances.  The Raiders also ousted fifth-place Picton and first-place Frankford in six games apiece.

MacNiel, who had 20 points from the back end (two goals, 18 assists) was awarded the Sgt. Jason Boyes Memorial Trophy as the division’s playoff most valuable player. He was a difference maker throughout the post-season, albeit several Raiders had outstanding efforts.  White also hit the 20-point mark (11,9) while 10 Raiders were in double-digits for points. Krupa and Aylesworth were also above the point-per-game clip. Vale posted a 2.24 GAA and was tied for first in the PJHL for playoff wins.

With the victory, the Raiders advanced to face the Orr Division-champion Clarington Eagles in the quarterfinals for the second time in three years.  The series is set to begin in Clarington Thursday, April 11.  Napanee’s first home ice is Saturday, April 13, a 7:30 p.m. start.