A night after alumni from the 1993 Schmalz Cup-champion Napanee Raiders took to the SPC ice, the current Raiders team gave fans cause to start to dream of another cup in the near future.
On Friday the 2017 edition continued its dominant season, blanking the Picton Pirates 5-0 at home, before walloping the Gananoque Islanders 11-0 on the road Sunday night. The weekend’s second win was Napanee’s 16th in a row and pushed their record to 16-1 on the season.
Picton entered Friday’s game on a bit of a roll, having gone 8-1-1 in their previous 10 games since they last saw Napanee back on Oct. 5.
Their hard charge for the league’s top spot ran into a road block by the name of Jeremy Piazzi on this night, as the Raider goalie turned away all 19 shots they fired his way.
Riley Steeves got Napanee on the board early, scoring a power-play goal just shy of the three-minute mark of the first. Austin Labelle and Ryan Casselman each tacked on a goal to close out the frame.
Labelle added one late in the second period and Devon King potted Napanee’s fifth goal in the dying seconds of the third to close out the scoring.
Though Picton managed just 19 shots on the night, they did have six power-play opportunities. The Pirates couldn’t get anything going however as Napanee’s penalty killing unit held them outside the slot. On the reverse side the Raiders made good on one of their five power-play chances.
Wes Werner took the loss for Picton, stopping 35 of 40 shots.
On Sunday it was Nicholas Nabuurs who turned in the shutout, stopping nine Islander shots for the win.
The Raiders offense took nearly a full period to get warmed up as they didn’t get on the board until Labelle found the back of the net in the dying seconds of the first.
Brodie Maracle had a quick strike in the second, however, followed by goals from Steeves and Josh Murphy in just over a five-minute span. Cullen Hinds netted the next two while Justynn Steven chipped in with a late one to put Napanee up 7-0 at the final intermission.
In the third they poured it on with four more goals courtesy of Will Peirson, Steven, Brandan Hagerman and Aidan Lawford-Wickham.
Josh Rowden took the loss, allowing five goals before giving way to Jordan Tompkins. The Raiders outshot the Islanders 48-9 on the night.
While the Raiders were taking care of business in Gananoque, they got some help from out of town as the Amherstview Jets took down the Port Hope Panthers with a 7-4 victory. The Panthers’ loss drops them a full 10 points back of the first place Raiders (32-22), though the Panthers hold a game in hand. The Pirates are closer behind at 10-5-1, just one back of second.
The Raiders made a pair of roster moves prior to Sunday’s game. Veteran defenceman Chad Caskenette went to the CCHL2 Athens Aeros for a player development fee. The Raiders then signed defenceman Peirson, who returns for a fifth year with the club after the OHA granted his petition to play as an overager this season.
Next up for the Raiders is a road game with the Pirates on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday they have a rare Sunday home game when they take on the still winless Campbellford Rebels at 7 p.m.
For complete standings, scoring and goalie leaders, visit www.napaneebeaver.ca/2017/11/09/raiders-stats/.