Lowering the broom: Raiders sweep Panthers to clinch Tod Division title

the Napanee Raiders celebrate with the Tod Division trophy after winning 9-1 on Tuesday night to wrap up a four game sweep of the Port Hope Panthers at the SPC. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

Blake Aylesworth had five points as the Napanee Raiders put an emphatic exclamation point on their series win, defeating the Port Hope Panthers 9-1 Tuesday night to claim the Tod Division title.

The victory completes the four game series sweep and allowed the Raiders, who entered the series as underdogs, to clinch the league title on Napanee’s Strathcona Paper Centre ice for the first time since 2010, doing so before 646 fans.

This game was competitive for the opening half of the first before Raider captain Ben White found the back of the net for his 11th goal of the playoffs at 10:30. That opened the flood gates as Cameron Krupa, Ben Carter and Aylesworth all scored within the next five minutes.

Raider pucks finding twine was a common occurrence in their 9-1 victory in Game 4. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

The offence kept rolling into the second as Reid Lambert scored just 1:43 into the frame. Trent Williams tacked on another at 7:32.

Logan Vale made 18 saves and won all four games of the series. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Port Hope’s Dailen Fousek broke up Napanee’s scoring chain with a power-play goal at 9:02, cutting the deficit to 6-1. There would be no miracle on ice however as Napanee went right back to their scoring ways, getting goals from Andrew Carr, Aylesworth and Lambert to round out the rout.

Raider fans remind the Panthers they were headed for a sweep. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Logan Vale earned the win in net, his fourth of the series, with 18 saves. Port Hope was held to single digit shots in every period, registering just four in the first and topping out at eight in the third. Napanee meanwhile blasted 49 pucks at the Panther combo of Dominic Marquis (five allowed) and Nicholas Parodo (four allowed).

Erik McNeil was named the Raiders’ playoff MVP. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Before the league trophy was presented, Raider defenceman Erik MacNiel was awarded the league’s playoff MVP trophy, named in memory of Sgt. Jason Boyes of Napanee, after registering two goals and 18 assists through 16 games while playing stellar defense.

The Raiders players, coaches and staff celebrate at centre ice in front of their home fans. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

For Napanee the series win was a bit of revenge against a Panthers team who ended their season last year in the league semifinals. Oddly enough last time around it was the Raiders who entered as the higher seed, only to be knocked off by the underdog Panthers.

Raider captains Marshall McFarland and Ben White presented with the Tod Division trophy. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Some 40 minutes before the Raiders clinched their series, the Clarington Eagle closed out the Georgina Ice to win the Orr Division. That means the Raiders will take on the Eagles in the PJHL Conference best-of-seven series. These two clubs last met in 2022, with the Eagles winning 4-1. Game dates are yet to be announced. Home ice will be determined through a coin toss.

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