A trio of unanswered goals in the final 13 minutes of the game was the difference as the Napanee Raiders secured an important 5-2 victory over the Picton Pirates at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Game 1 of the Tod Division finals.
Napanee’s Ryan Casselman and Picton’s Nate Boomhower traded goals through the first three periods, each scoring twice. Casselman opened the scoring at the 7:59 mark of the first with assists from Dayton Kent and Evan Foley.
Boomhower answered 1:15 into the second with help from Devin Morrison and Kurtis Wood.
Casselman put the Raiders up 2-1 at the 11:14 mark of the second, with the assist from Austin Labelle. That lead held until just over four minutes into the third, when Boomhower again tied the score.
The Raiders would take it from there however, as Cam Harris netted his first of the playoffs just three minutes later to put Napanee up for good. Brodie Maracle fired a wrist shot through traffic that found the back of the net at 8:59 to double the lead with Labelle picking up the assist. Casselman completed his hat trick with an empty net goal in the final minutes.
Picton’s Kyle Renaud took the loss, stopping 34 of 39. Nicholas Nabuurs, making his playoff debut for Napanee after sitting out the first round due to injury, earned the win with 14 saves.
Both teams were scoreless on the power-play, with Picton going 0-3 and Napanee 0-4.
The series will resume tonight in Picton with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. Game 3 goes Saturday in Napanee, with Game 4 back in Picton on Sunday. If necessary Game 5 goes Tuesday in Napanee with Game 6 Thursday in Picton and a winner-take-all scheduled for March 16 in Napanee. All games have a 7:30 p.m. scheduled start time.