Napanee’s dynamic goaltending duo of Nicholas Nabuurs and Bailey Maracle stretched their scoreless streak to 266 minutes and 50 seconds before finally surrendering a goal late in Sunday’s first period in Gananoque.
Napanee held on for a 4-3 victory in that game to go along with a 10-0 win in Amherstview Saturday evening and 3-0 win at home over Port Perry Friday night in a six point weekend.
The Islanders’ Nick Maillet scored at the 19:16 mark on Sunday against Maracle, which was the first goal any opponent had scored on Napanee since North Kawartha’s Matthew Wilbee’s successful penalty shot at 6:26 of the third period on Dec. 21, a span that included four shutouts in between.
Maillet’s goal cut Napanee’s lead to 2-1 at the time as Cam Harris and Cullen Hinds had scored earlier in the period.
The next scoreless streak didn’t last long at all as Gananoque’s Kyle Casford scored 6:43 into the second period to knot the game at 2-2.
Despite playing in their third game in three days, the Raiders found the energy to rally as Ryan Casselman scored just under two minutes later on the power-play to put Napanee up for good. Curtis Marrison scored 11 minutes into the third in what turned out to be the game winner. Gananoque made it interesting when they employed an extra attacker to score with just 19 seconds left in the game to cut the lead to one. The Raiders would survive the nervous finish to escape with the victory.
Maracle finished with 18 saves on the night for the win.
The previous afternoon in Amherstview the Raiders exacted a bit of revenge on the Jets, who stand as one of just two teams to beat Napanee this year following their Dec. 14 victory.
This time around it was all Napanee in a 10-0 thumping. Reid Humphrey opened the scoring 3:53 into the game, a score that held into the first intermission.
The floodgates opened in the second as Hinds, Jacob Gilbert, Justynn Steven, Evan Foley and Brady Rawn each notched a goal while Casselman had a pair, all seven goals coming within an 11:23 span. Harris and Austin Labelle rounded out the scoring with one each in the third.
Nabuurs earned the shutout with 24 saves.
Friday’s game was much closer as the Raiders squeaked out a 3-0 win over the visiting Port Perry Mojacks.
The game remained scoreless until the final two minutes of the second when Casselman scored short-handed. Hinds doubled the lead 11:56 into the third and Labelle added an empty-netter with just two seconds left on the clock to ice the win.
Maracle turned away 16 shots for the shutout.
With their three wins the Raiders improve to 30-2-1 (61 points) on the year and continue to enjoy a comfortable 16 point lead over second place Picton.
The Jets meanwhile, who had been hard-charging towards overtaking the Picton Pirates for second, endured a rough weekend. They followed Saturday’s drubbing with a 4-1 loss to Picton. The 22-11-0-1 (45) Pirates now hold a five point cushion over the 19-12-2 (40) Jets. The Islanders meanwhile tumbled out of a playoff spot this weekend as the 10-19-0-2 (22) Port Hope Panthers leap-frogged them as the Islanders fell to 9-22-1-1 (20). The Campbellford Rebels round out the Tod Division at 1-32-0-1 (three).
The Raiders will look to take another step towards sewing up the top seed this week when they welcome the Pirates to the SPC for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. On Sunday Napanee travels to Port Hope for a 1:30 p.m. matinee.