Just two wins away.
That’s how close the Napanee Raiders are to their second Schmalz Cup in franchise history after tonight’s enthralling 3-1 victory over the Grimsby Peach Kings at home in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Following their first lost of the postseason last Sunday the Raiders quickly found themselves down a goal tonight just 1:15 after the opening face-off. Jacob Balca potted the goal for the Peach Kings, who looked as though they may be off and running in the pivotal Game 3 matchup.
The Raiders weren’t down for long however as Cam Harris knotted the game at 1-1 at the 5:48 mark with assists from Evan Foley and Dayton Kent.
That line was responsible for Napanee’s go ahead goal just under six minutes later when Foley converted on a pass from Harris and Kent on the power-play.
Both teams traded chances throughout the final 49 minutes of the game, though neither side could find the back of the net until Ryan Casselman flipped the biscuit into the empty Peach King cage with just 49 seconds left in the game. Brodie Maracle picked up the assist.
Nicholas Nabuurs earned the win, settling in after the shaky start to finish the night with 22 saves, including seven in the final period to preserve the win. Riley Maskell took the loss at the other end of the ice, stopping 27 of 29.
A hometown crowd turned out in force at the Strathcona Paper Centre, with nearly 1,000 spectators packing the arena. They were treated to a hard-hitting, tense game that was up in the air until the final minute.
Napanee will look to move one step closer to history on Sunday when they travel to Grimsby for Game 4. Puck drop is 2 p.m.
A win there would give them a chance to close it out at home on Tuesday. Game 5 gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at the SPC.