Rivermen road trip guarantees home EOSHL playoff game

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

ARNPRIOR – The Arnprior Rivermen finished the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (EOSHL) regular season on the road, working hard to guarantee themselves a home game in the opening round of the 2024 playoffs.

The Rivermen (9-10-1) locked up one of six EOSHL East Division playoff spots during a home game Jan. 27. The Glengarry Pipers (3-14-4) and the Cornwall Prowlers (4-15-1) were eliminated from further play this season.

The team had three games left in the regular season at that point, and the following week (Feb. 3) dropped a 5-7 decision to the Bytown Royals (14-6-0) at home. The last two Rivermen games of the season would be spent on the road, with the second-last game a rematch from the night before, as the Rivermen went on the road to face the Royals for a Sunday (Feb. 4) afternoon in Gloucester.

With a strong end to the regular season, the Rivermen could earn a home playoff game.

The Royals opened the scoring in the first period and would have a 2-1 lead heading in to the third period. The Rivermen would score four third period goals in the first 10 minutes with Dan Johnson scoring the winner with 11:32 remaining in the period.

The team’s veterans provided the drive to get the win, with four-year Rivermen Alex Hulford being named first star with a goal and an assist, and team owner, Galetta’s Adrian Moyes being named third star with a goal and an assist.

The Rivermen wrapped up the season at the Gatineau Valley Arena to take on the Paugan Falls Rapids (6-12-2) Saturday, Feb. 10.

It would be another one-goal battle with the Rivermen getting the win 6-5 in overtime. It was a wild finish with seven goals scored in the third period. The Rapids would score four straight goals to open the third period, followed by the Rivermen scoring four straight goals to earn the win.

The Rivermen tied the game on the powerplay with 2:31 remaining in the game on a goal by Sutton Allard. Andrew Cuglietta would score the winner on a pass from Nolan McGregor who the Rivermen would name their Cold Bear Player of the Game.

Hulford was once again the scoring leader for the Rivermen, named the third star with a goal and two assists.

The regular season ends with the Rivermen finishing fourth in the eight-team East Division. The top two teams, the North Dundas Rockets (19-1-0) and the South Stormont Mustangs (16-4-0) earning byes in the first round.

Wildcard weekend begins this weekend with the higher seeded team hosting the first game of the 2024 playoffs as well as only needing to win one game to move on to the next round of the EOSHL playoffs. The lower seeded team must win two games to advance.

The Rivermen will take on the South Grenville Rangers this Saturday at the Nick Smith Centre (77 James St.) in Arnprior. The Rivermen lost both regular season games to the Rangers this year outscored 16 to 11.

Puck-drop on the EOSHL playoffs will be Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. After all that work securing a home playoff date, the Rivermen are hoping to fill the Bert Hall Arena and will be giving away a big screen smart television if there are more than 350 paying fans.

Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, $5 for youth 13 to 15 and free for anyone under 18 and coming with a paying adult.

There is a licensed section in the arena featuring local producers Cold Bear Brewery and Dunrobin Distilleries.

Other EOSHL wild card games include, in the east, the Royals taking on Paugan Falls. In the EOSHL West Division the Number 3 Smiths Falls Rideaus take on the Number 6 Frontenac Phantoms and the Number 4 Tweed Oil Kings take on the Number 5 Madawaska Valley Wolves.

The defending EOSHL champions are the North Dundas Rockets.

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