So far, so good for the Napanee Raiders who kicked off their 2023-24 Junior C hockey season with a 3-2 win over the Campbellford Rebels Friday followed by a 5-1 win in Amherstview on Sunday.
Trent Williams recorded Napanee’s first goal of the season, finding the back of the net at the 6:04 mark of the second period in Friday’s season opener at the Strathcona Paper Centre.
Campbellford’s Brock Kelsh responded just passed the 15 minute mark to tie the game at 1-1.
That score held until the third period when Erik MacNiel and Ben Chubbs each scored less than two minutes apart to give the Raiders a 3-1 lead. Campbellford’s Jacoby Martin brought the Rebels to within one with just under six minutes to go to create a little opening night tension, but that was as close as the visitors would get.
Logan Vale shut the door the rest of the way, finishing with 25 saves on the night to pick up the first win of the season in front of 436 fans.
Campbellford’s Brayden Friedrich took the tough luck loss, turning away 54 shots in an outstanding effort that ultimately came up just short.
Despite the loss the Rebels gave early notice to the league that they aren’t the same team that had just three victories in 41 games last season. Along with battling Napanee tough, the Rebels also skated to a 2-2 draw with the Port Hope Panthers on Saturday.
Sunday afternoon in Amherstview the Raiders picked up a much less stressful victory, never trailing in a 5-1 triumph.
Michael Patrick got the Raiders on the board 6:31 into the game. Adam Nutall doubled the lead midway through the second.
Marshall McFarland scored his first of two in the third period just 4:12 into the final frame. Amherstview’s Logan Calder broke Vale’s shutout bid at 7:03 of the third, the lone blemish on his 28-save afternoon.
McFarland restored Napanee’s three-goal advantage with his second of the game at 14:14. Cameron Krupa iced the victory with an empty net goal with just over a minute and half remaining.
Marc-Olivier Robert took the loss for the Jets, finishing with 28 saves. Napanee was 1-5 on the power-play while the Jets went 1-for-7.
The Raiders will look to stay unbeaten on the young season when they welcome the Picton Pirates to the SPC on Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. start. That’ll be Napanee’s lone game of the week, not returning to the ice until Sept. 29 when the Jets come to the SPC for a 7:30 p.m. game.