ARNPRIOR – It’s do or die time in the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (EOSHL) starting this Saturday (Feb. 18) for the Arnprior Rivermen, as they open round one of the playoffs against the Deseronto Bulldogs.
The Rivermen (10-9-1) were the first team to end the EOSHL regular season, and had to wait a week or so to find out who they would be squaring off against in the opening round of the playoffs.
Well, the season is over, the dust has cleared, and the Rivermen end the season in fourth in the six-team EOSHL West Division. The playoff format for the first round is the top two EOSHL West Division teams get a bye, with the next four playing in the opening round. The third and fourth place teams open at home and only need one win to advance to the second round. Bottom two teams have to win two playoff games in the opening round to advance. All following rounds are the best three out of five.
In round one, the Rivermen will square off against the Deseronto Bulldogs (10-10-0) with game one Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Nick Smith Centre with puck drop at 6:30 p.m. in the Bert Hall Arena.
In the other West Division playoff, the third place Smith Falls Rideaus (10-8-0) take on the sixth place Frontenac Phantoms (3-16-1).
The Rivermen have had the Bulldogs number this season beating them in both regular season games. The Rivermen won 6-2 on Nov. 19, 2022 and 5-4 on Nov. 5, 2022.
Offensively, the Rivermen are led by Wakefield, QC’s, Ryan Peck. The 24-year-old former Navan Grads player had 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points in 19 games with the Rivermen this season, his first in the EOSHL.
Rivermen owner, Galetta’s Adrian Moyes ended up second in scoring on his own team with 11 goals and 13 assists in all 20 of the team’s games.
Stittsville’s Alex Hulford, who has played for the Rivermen in all three seasons of the EOSHL’s existence finished third in team scoring with six goals and 17 assists in 17 games. Hulford is a former Ottawa Valley Titans U18 player and has also played university and junior hockey.
Former Arnprior Packer Jesse Dick, also of Arnprior, added 11 goals and 12 assists in 15 games for the Rivermen.
The Rivermen have three goalies qualified for postseason play including Mike McDonald, Patrick Killeen and Erik Miksik. Miksik played the most games for the Rivermen with 11 recording a 4-6 record, 5.25 goals against average and .854 save percentage.
McDonald played five games (3-2, 4.85 GAA, .812 save percentage) and Killeen played four games (3-1, 5.00 GAA, .899 save percentage) for the Rivermen. Players must play in at least five games to qualify for the playoffs.
Across the faceoff circle, Joey Mayer led the Bulldogs with 11 goals and 13 assists in 16 games. The team had three other players break the 20-point threshold in Brodie Maracle (18 GP, four goals, 18 assists), Luigi Martone (19 GP, seven goals 13 assists) and Noah Brant (15 GP, 10 goals, 10 assists).
The Bulldogs also had three goalies qualify for the playoffs with Corey Kuypers leading the way with a 6-6 record in 12 games and a 5.48 GAA and .853 save percentage.
The Rivermen enter the playoffs on a two game losing streak while the Bulldogs won their last two regular season games. Head-to-head, the Bulldogs had a -5 goal differential while the Rivermen had a -7 goal differential. The Rivermen’s special teams include at 24 per cent powerplay success rate and a nearly 75 per cent penalty kill while the Bulldogs come in with a 23 per cent powerplay and 77 per cent penalty kill.
West Carleton Online spoke briefly with Rivermen trainer, Panmure’s Doug Twinning today and he’s excited about his team’s prospect.
“We have 32 men available on our roster,” Twinning said. “No injuries, no absences, so we will have the best line-up on the ice (only 20 are eligible on the gameday roster) we’ve had all year.”
The EOSHL playoffs kick off at 6:30 p.m. at the Nick Smith Centre (77 James St.). Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for youth 13-17 or free for anyone under 18 accompanied by an adult.
The world-famous chuck-a-puck will be held as well as a 50/50 raffle. The team has a licenses section in the arena featuring locally produced beer and mixed drinks.
“We need a huge crowd out to support and cheer on the team as, if we win Saturday night we are in the EOSHL West Division semi-final round,” the Rivermen released in a statement yesterday (Feb. 15). “Come see what all the hype is about yourself and support your local senior hockey team. Let’s fill the barn this Saturday for a night of amazing local hockey.”
Tickets are at the gate of you can by them in advance at www.arnpriorrivermen.com.