Evan Foley’s third period power-play goal was the difference as the Napanee Raiders squeaked out a 3-2 road win over the Uxbridge Bruins on Friday night.
The victory was likely the most challenging one of the Raiders now 13 game win streak. The Bruins had entered the game with a perfect 9-0 record at their home Uxbridge Arena while the Raiders were short-staffed with just 15 skaters and without one of their top scorers in Austin Labelle.
For the second time this season Raider goalie Nicholas Nabuurs matched up against Bruins’ keeper Ryan McConkey in a goaltender’s duel. In their previous meeting in Napanee back on Sept. 23, the Raiders held on for a 2-1 victory.
Uxbridge struck first in Friday’s re-match as Robert Freckelton scored at the 7:42 mark of the first.
That lead held into the second period when Napanee’s Devon King knotted the game at 1-1 with help from Jacob Gilbert. Cullen Hinds put the Raiders up 2-1 with a power-play goal just passed the 16 minute mark with Gilbert again earning the assist.
The Raiders were able to preserve their 2-1 lead into the final intermission but saw it slip away quickly in the third as Jackson Savery tied the game just eight seconds into the third.
The game swung in Napanee’s favour when Uxbridge’s Travis Buxcey drew a checking from behind game misconduct penalty. Foley made it really hurt when he banged home the eventual game winner with help from Dayton Kent and Nelson Powers.
Nabuurs finished the night with 27 saves, including a perfect 14 save second period. McConkey took the loss with 35 stops. Special teams was the difference as Napanee was 2-6 on their power-plays while Uxbridge was 0-4.
After two intense home-and-home games, the Raiders are now done with the Orr Division Bruins in the regular season.
Napanee will now return home on Friday to host another Orr Division challenge in the Clarington Eagles for a 7:30 p.m. start time. The Eagles are 8-9-1 on the year. On Saturday the Raiders travel to Campbellford to face the Rebels at 7 p.m.
Last Friday’s game was Napanee’s only action in a light week, bumping their record to 16-1-1 on the year. They got some help building their first place cushion from some Orr Division teams however as the Picton Pirates dropped back-to-back games to North Kawartha and Lakefield. Picton remains in second with a 12-7-0-1 record, but are now eight back (33-25) of the Raiders, who also hold two games in hand over the Pirates. Amherstview is third at 8-9-2 (28 points), Gananoque fourth at 6-11-1-1 (14 points), Port Hope is fifth at 4-13-0-1 (nine points), and the Campbellford Rebels continue to dwell in the basement at 1-18-0-1 (three points).