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Pirates just two points behind Empire Jr. C. champs

The Picton Pirates are part of what is thought to be the closest finish of an Empire Jr. C regular season in the loop’s 21-year history.
The Pirates (20-16-4, 44 points) wound up third – their best finish since a second place showing in the 2004-05 season- but were only two points behind regular season champion Napanee (46 points) and just a single point back of second place Amherstview (45 points).
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime finish for the Empire and I was really happy to be a part of this league in this special season,” Pirates GM Jason Parks said. “Even though we were a win away, I thought we showed tremendous heart and character all season long and to go right down to the wire proves that any team can beat any team in this league. It’s a great league this season.”
Picton posted back-to-back 20 win campaigns for the first time since the turn of the century as well as having some individual players put together special seasons in the statistical department.
For the first time in over handful of years, Picton had more then a pair of players in the league’s top ten in scoring.
Wingers Jack Davison and Ryan Sizer tied for the Picton scoring lead with 47 points a piece, good enough for a tie for fourth place in the Empire scoring parade.
Centre Mitch Rosborough didn’t let a late start to the season stop him from racking up the points, potting 38 in just 29 games, good enough for tenth.
Meanwhile, Picton netminder Matt Kaludis was the Empire league’s best in wins (15), Goals Against Average (3.30), Save Percentage (.920) and minutes played (1,726:03).
In terms of points from the blueline, second year vets Steve Csanyi and Brandon Peever tied for fourth in points by a defenceman with 21 a piece.
Picton locked down their 20th win of the season Thursday night agaisnt the Napanee Raiders.
Down 4-2 inside ten minutes remaining, Picton sent the fans home happy with three goals in final half of the third period.
Tyler Kearns fed Rosborough at 9:47 get Picton back within a goal, 4-3.
Picton continued the comeback and it was Kearns again, this time with help from Sizer, to feed a wide open Jack Davison to knot the game at 4-4 at 14:04.
The comeback was completed at 16:38 when Nic Shunock moved the puck out the Picton end to Davison, who spotted Kearns and the London native made no mistake, beating Raider goalie Laine Parent for the game winner.
“You really can’t say enough about Tyler Kearns performance in the last ten minutes,” Parks said. “He was everywhere and played a huge role in what was probably our most emotional and dramatic comeback of the season.”
Other Picton scorers were Eric Hayes and Dylan Mountenay.
Kearns added a helper on the Hayes goal.
Picton will meet up with the Amherstview Jets in a best of seven semi final series, but not before fourth place Campbellford and fifth place  Port Hope  play a best-of-five play-in series to determine who will take on top seeded Napanee.
“We’re hoping to get a playoff schedule done soon, but the team will enjoy this week off to rest up for what we are hoping is a long playoff run,” Parks said.
The GM added the Pirates will fit in four or five practices prior to playing game one.

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