ARNPRIOR – While the Frontenac Phantoms (3-10-0) may be at the bottom of the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (EOSHL) West Division standings, the game does have some meaning for the West Carleton Rivermen (10-5-1).
The Rivermen have two games left in the EOSHL regular season and their second spot in the West Division isn’t assured even if the team wins out.
The Rivermen can’t catch the Smith Falls Rideaus (13-3-0) who sit atop the six-team division, but they can give up second spot to the Tweed Oil Kings (10-3-0) who are only one point behind the Rivermen and have three games at hand. The Feb. 5 win over the Oil Kings was certainly important. The Gananoque Islanders (7-6-2), sitting in the final playoff spot, have an outside chance of catching the Rivermen if they win all three of their remaining games. So the playoff are assured for the Rivermen, but who they play in the first round is still very much up in the air. Winning their last two games of the season would mean a lot.
And that starts tomorrow in the Bert Hall Arena at the Nick Smith Centre (77 James St.) for a 12:20 p.m. puck drop.
The Phantoms have had a tough introduction to the EOSHL. The team has the second worst goal differential in the 12-team EOSHL at -38. The have also scored the second fewest goals this season (60) behind the dreadful Bytown Royals (2-13-1). Their defence has been a bit better, but not much.
Although competitive games, the team is mired in a four-game losing streak. Their three wins this season came against teams that currently sit out of the playoffs.
The Phantoms leading scorer is Aaron Naphan, 38, who has three goals and 11 assists in 14 games. The Kingston resident is playing on his second EOSHL team this season after five games with the Islanders. Naphan has also played in the U.S.’s Federal Prospects Hockey League, and four seasons in the All American Hockey League.
Nathan Domen has three goals and seven assists in 13 games for the Phantoms and Nathan Mutch has two goals and seven assists in 14 games.
Domen, 24, played four seasons in southern Ontario’s Provincial Junior Hockey League for the Gananoque Islanders before coming to the EOSHL. Mutch spent a couple of years with the Napanee Raiders of the Empire B Junior C Hockey League before joining the Phantoms.
The Rivermen continue to have one of the most potent offenses in the league led by Stitsville’s Alex Hulford (15 G, 12 A), Carp’s Ryley Egan (7 G, 12 A) and the 2019-2020 EOSHL defenceman of the year Gloucester’s Zack Rheaume (3 G, 16 A).
Team owner, Galetta’s Adrian Moyes is doing his job on the ice as well with seven goals and seven assists.
Tickets for the West Carleton Rivermen’s game tomorrow are available at the gate. Adults are $10, seniors are $8 and youth 18 and under are free with a paying adult. Current COVID-19 regulations are in effect.