Rivermen battle for first in EOSHL west

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

DESERONTO – The Arnprior Rivermen stretched their winning streak to three games last Saturday (Nov. 19) keeping the team in second position in a very tight Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (EOSHL) West Division.

The Rivermen (5-3-1) soundly defeated the Deseronto Bulldogs (4-5-0) 6-2 at the Deseronto Community Recreation Centre Saturday evening on the strength of a three-goal third period.

Team owner, Galetta’s Adrian Moyes was named the game’s first star with a three-point evening including a goal and two assists. Ryan Peck, Ryan Duhaime, Jared Campitelli, Dan Johnson and Luke Peck also scored for the Rivermen.

Rivermen Alex Hulford was named third star with two assists in the game.

The win keeps the Rivermen in sole possession of second place in the six-team EOSHL West Division. But the division is tight with only four points separating first from fifth.

The Gananoque Islanders have (6-1-0) lead the division with 12 points; the Rivermen have 11; the Smith Falls Rideaus (5-5-0) have 10; the Tweed Oil Kings (4-4-0) and the Bulldogs each have eight points.

Rivermen coach Mike Byrne says the team is starting to find consistency after winning two games in a row for the first time all season Nov. 12.

“We’ve started paying more attention to detail,” Byrne said of his team today (Nov. 25). “Last Saturday was our best defensive game of the season. We picked up the opposing players defensively, back checked and kept pucks to the outside. It’s certainly no coincidence that we’ve been successful in games where we’ve played better defensively.”

Moyes, who founded the team in West Carleton in the EOSHL’s inaugural 2019-2020 season, is having another strong season. In nine games this year Moyes has five goals (two on the powerplay) and six assists for 11 points.

“Always awesome to see Adrian lead by example,” Moyes said. “I’ve been very happy with his game of late, and he’s beginning to use his shot more, which clearly is leading to more scoring opportunities.”

Moyes has not missed a Rivermen game in the team’s history and has an impressive 71 points in 45 EOSHL regular season games (28 goals, 43 assists). He has added another 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 13 EOSHL playoff games. For those who attend Rivermen games at the Nick Smith Centre, they know Moyes also runs the between period entertainment.

Tomorrow (Nov. 26) the Rivermen face their biggest test of the season with a chance to grab first place in the west division with a match against the Islanders. The Islanders have had the Rivermen’s number so far this season leading the head-to-head match-up 2-0 and outscoring the Rivermen 21-15 in two games. The Islanders beat the Rivermen 11-6 on Oct. 28 and 10-9 on Oct. 15.

But Byrne thinks he has the answer for tomorrow’s game in Arnprior in the Bert Hall Arena.

“The Islanders are an incredible team and have some of the top offensive players in the league,” he said. “We’re going to have to continue to focus defensively, take advantage of opportunities in their end and start fast. Last but not least, we have to stay out of the box. Gananoque has an incredible power play, which isn’t something we want to have to defend against.”

The Rivermen have had to change the start time of the game due to the Arnprior Santa Claus Parade which will affect the ability for traffic in the Nick Smith Centre area.

“Due to the closure of Daniel Street from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. Saturday we have changed our game from 730 p.m. to 630 p.m.,” the Rivermen released in a statement. “Fans planning to attend the entire game will need to be at the Nick Smith Centre by 5:45 p.m. if they are driving. If you can park nearby and walk you will have regular access. We will be offering a special for anyone who wishes to come after the parade and when part of Daniel Street re-opens of $5 admission. We are very sorry for the inconvenience, and we hope that you will bring your families out after the parade for what will be a very exciting hockey game as we battle for first place in the west division.”

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