A soft spot in the schedule gave the Napanee Raiders plenty to be thankful this week as they scored a cornucopia of goals en route to wins over the Port Hope Panthers and Campbellford Rebels.
On the road Tuesday the Raiders rode a 10 goal outburst to an easy 15-0 victory over the still winless Rebels.
Captain Justynn Steven had four goals, Jacob Gilbert had three, Dayton Kent and Austin Labelle each had a pair while Reid Humphrey, Jacob Murphy, Evan Foley and Brendan Hagerman each had one.
Labelle chipped in with four helpers for a six point night while Humphrey also had four assists for a five point night. Devon King had three assists on the night as well.
Nicholas Nabuurs was a perfect 20 for 20 in save attempts for his first shutout of the season and second win. His counterpart, Dawson McLaughlin, faced 49 shots on the night.
Gilbert opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game. Napanee didn’t light the lamp again until Steven had his first of the night in the final seconds of the period.
Though Campbellford’s hometown fans may have thought they would be treated to a tight battle after the opening frame, the Raiders went on the pot 10 goals over the next 20 minutes.
Despite the lopsided score, the Rebels kept their cool, drawing just one penalty. Napanee converted on the lone power-play. The loss dropped the Rebels to 0-7 to start the year.
Prior to taking on the Tod Division basement dwellers, the Raiders hosted the team that resides just one floor above, the fifth place Panthers on Friday night on home ice at Napanee’s SPC.
Despite their struggles to open the season the Panthers actually played the Raiders tough through two periods, holding them to just two goals before Napanee tacked on three more for a 5-1 victory.
Gilbert scored in the opening 47 seconds of the game to put the home team up 1-0.
Panthers goalie Eric Martin then stood on his head the rest of the period, stopping the next 19 pucks the Raiders sent his way.
He continued to shine in the second, stopping another 11 while yielding just a goal to Nelson Powers on the power-play at 14:46.
Napanee’s persistence paid off in the third and they finally broke through with goals from Cullen Hinds and Kent at 8:13 and 13:56 respectively.
Johnny Sawka broke Napanee’s Bailey Maracle’s shutout bid at the 16:14 mark of the third and cut the Panthers’ deficit to 4-1.
Evan Foley provided insurance with a power-play tally in the final minute to help seal the win.
Maracle finished the night with 20 saves for the win.
Through eight games Napanee is now 6-1-1, good for 13 points. That’s four up on the 4-2-1 Amherstview Jets and five better than the 4-3 Picton Pirates. Gananoque is 3-4-0-1 while Port Hope is 1-7.
Napanee will host the reigning Schmalz Cup champion Lakefield Chiefs tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in a cross-division showdown. Napanee swept a pre-season home-and-home with the Chiefs.