Pirates eyeing PJHL’s 2022-23 finish line

The Pirates celebrate a goal in the second period of Thursday's win over Campbellford. (Gazette Staff)

The Picton Pirates have left themselves some work to do as the 2022-23 Provincial Junior Hockey League season winds down.

The Pirates rode a five game unbeaten streak into Port Hope on Saturday night only to be fouled by a bad start. The Pirates rallied but ended up dropping a 4-2 decision to the host Panthers that allowed the Cats to gain ground on the Bucs.

Picton (21-14-3, 46 points) lead the Panthers by three points with a game in hand for third place in the Tod Division. With the top two teams in the loop getting a bye through, the locals are keen to have the first seed in the opening round of the Schmalz Cup playoffs.

Picton’s hopes for tracking down second place Amherstview took a death blow on Sunday as the Jets blanked the Panthers 3-0.

On Saturday, Picton found itself trailing the Panthers by three goals before the game was barely ten minutes old.

Cole Kimble, Issac Langdon and Carter Clarke teamed up to chase Pirates starter Ethan Beattie over the first 9:18 of the opening frame.

Picton was able to reset and started to chip away at the Port Hope lead.

The Pirates power play sprang to life in the second when Rheydan McCoy and Nate Woods teamed up to set up Landon McLellan’s 21st of the season with under four minutes left in the stanza.

In the third and with time winding down, Nick Kirby’s 17th of the year set up by Hosea Aculiak at 16:53 put the locals one shot away.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, a empty net goal with 30 seconds left sealed the game for the Panthers.

On Thursday, Picton engineered a 5-1 win over visiting Campbellford.

Gerrit Kempers had a pair of goals in the first period of Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Frankford. (Gazette Staff)

Ian Harrison set up Zack Brooks at the slot area for the Frankford native’s 12th of the season.

In the second, Kirby put on some razzle dazzle, intercepting a Rebels pass and walking in to the slot to beat starter Keaton Lyons at 7:14 to give Picton a 2-0 lead.

Kyle Allan’s 7th of the year at 15:20 of the second kept the visitors in the game but the Pirates pulled away in the third period.

Liam Philip put his 6th of the year home at 5:13 and Gerrit Kemper’s 10th just over two minutes later made it 4-1 Picton.

Veteran Jack Dow got in on the act in the final minute, scoring his 26th of the season.

Beattie stopped 28 shots for his 7th win of the year.

On Tuesday in Frankford, Picton skated to a 5-2 win.

The Pirates found themselves training by a goal after Dylan Foster shovelled home a loose puck past Brady Spry just over two minutes in but Kemper’s scored back-to-back goals in the late going of the opening stanza to push Picton ahead 2-1. 

In the second, McLellan would set up both Kirby and Dow to move Picton’s lead to 4-1.

County native Riley Grimmon would score on a short handed breakaway to deposit his 5th of the year before the close of the second but Picton answered on the power play midway through the third with a Brooks blast.

The Pirates host the Jets on Tuesday and then play their final home game of the regular season Thursday against Frankford.

Picton winds up its regular season Sunday in Amherstview.

-Gazette Staff