In the first meeting of the Tod Division’s top ranked teams on Friday, it was the second place Gananoque Islanders who stole a 2-1 victory from the home team Napanee Raiders.
The Islanders’ victory marked the first in 23 games the Raiders had lost in regulation. Prior to Friday the Raiders’ only blemishes were a tie and an overtime loss coupled with 20 victories.
After both teams skated to a scoreless first period, Gananoque’s Derek Hamilton converted on a power-play 8:57 into the second.
Aiden Johnson scored at 15:08 to push the Islanders’ lead to 2-0.
Former Raider Jeremy Piazzi stole the show in net for Gananoque, quelling the powerful Raider offense time and time again, including a break away attempt from Evan Foley from point blank range.
Austin Labelle finally solved Piazzi with under four minutes to go in the second with assists from Foley and Liam Mroueh.
That would wind up as Napanee’s lone goal of the game on 39 shots. Mitch Bown took the loss for Napanee, stopping 26 of 28.
Gananoque scored on one of their five power-plays while Napanee was scoreless on all four of their advantages.
Though it was their first regular season meeting, the Islanders did give the defending Schmalz Cup champions a bit of a run in the pre-season, splitting their two games. After missing the playoffs completely the last two years, the Islanders have at times emerged as a real threat this year, though they have had their share of rough stretches as well.
Napanee will have to wait a bit longer to try and get back in the win column as Sunday’s road game against the Port Hope Panthers was postponed due to a snow storm.
Napanee’s next scheduled game is Friday, when they’ll host the Picton Pirates with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. That game will also be their annual teddy bear toss match up, where they encourage fans to bring stuffed animals. When Napanee scores their first goal of the game, fans can throw the toys onto the ice. They’ll be gathered by the players and then donated to less fortunate families this holiday season. Fans can also bring food donations for the Morningstar Mission.
On Sunday Napanee travels to Gananoque for a rematch with the Islanders. Puck drop for that game is 7 p.m.
Napanee is 20-1-1-1 on the season, 12 points up on the 13-6-1-3 Islanders. Amherstview is third at 14-7-1 (29 points), Port Hope fourth at 10-7-2-2 (24), Picton fifth at 8-12-1-1 (18) and Campbellford last at 1-17-0-2 (four).