Ottawa, Ontario – The Arnprior Packers will host the Whitewater Kings in game one of the best of three Richardson Division Wild Card series on Friday March 18th 2022 inside the Nick Smith Centre.
Game 1: Friday March 18th @ 7:30PM – Nick Smith Centre
Game 2: Saturday March 19th @ 8:00PM – Cobden Arena
Game 3: Monday March 21st @ 8:00PM – Nick Smith Arena
During the season series, Arnprior got four wins and Whitewater had two wins All of the games were basically very close contests during the regular season. Arnprior is the third seed and will have home ice in this wild card series, while Whitewater makes its into the EOJHL playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
October 1st: Arnprior 5, Whitewater 3
October 2nd: Arnprior 2, Whitewater 1
October 23rd: Whitewater 5, Arnprior 4 (SO)
November 12th: Arnprior 5, Whitewater 4
February 11th: Arnprior 3, Whitewater 2
February 27th: Whitewater 4, Arnprior 3
Arnprior’s Keys to Victory:
The Arnprior Packers go back to making it to the playoffs once again for the second consecutive year, as they were outstanding during the regular season. General Manager of the Arnprior Packers Matt Couvrette is very impressed with this team.
“It was great to play a full season for these young men, we had ups and downs like every season, but the group fought through and was able to have a successful year on the ice.”
Neil Duncan led his team in goals (34), assists (32) and points (66) and was ranked fifth in the EOJHL with points, tied for first in goals and 8th in assists. He is a 20 year old that has stepped in every game during the season. He even started the season by going on a 17 game point streak between October 1st to November 19th.
Not only Duncan led his team down the stretch, but Andrew Cuglietta and Jason Proulx each had 40+ points season and McGregor had 39 points. Arnprior pulled a deal with the Valley to get two veteran players in Klawitter and Kuehl, who turned into a big factor when they joined the team in the second half.
Couvrette said that having players like Neil Duncan, Andrew Cuglietta, Jake Duhn and Nolan McGregor to lead the younger players both on and off the ice until they got their feet wet under them was huge in getting us to where we are at.
Another big part was goaltending from Jett Miller and expect him to be the starting during the playoffs. Miller played in 39 games in his age 19 year and went 16-9-1, to go along with two shutouts, 2.78 GAA / .919 SV%.
“Jett has been in every sense of the word, a starting goalie. He’s carried us through many games this year and will be leaned on again in the playoffs.” said Couvrette.
Arnprior had a very young defense core throughout the season and was led by Jordon Ryan, who only had 9 points, but is know to be a shutout down defenseman. Saito had 19 points, Landon had 17 points and Brazeau had 15 points during the season and all of the them are very young. Defense is gonna have to be key in this series against Whitewater.
“Whitewater has a great forward group and a strong goalie, we need to keep them to the outside, allow Jett Miller to see the puck and when we have the puck be relentless. We have four lines that can play and they will all be needed to come out with a victory.” said Couvrette on keys to a series win over Whitewater.
Whitewater’s Keys to Victory:
The Whitewater Kings make it into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with an age average of 17.5. General Manager of the Whitewater Kings Brent Gould decided that after last season, he wanted to build a team around a younger core with a lot of local talent.
“The organization’s goal is to develop players for the next level, which in turn would attract players to the Whitewater Kings organization. We believed that we could build a fast disciplined team that could compete every night. The team has played close games with all the top teams in the league,” said Gould on what his goals were with this organization when becoming GM.
The Whitewater Kings were a second least penalized team during the regular season with 555 PIM. It also made them the last penalized team in Richardson Division play. The more experience guys were Sean Tallon, Patrick Holmes, Zach Martin and Dante Hoffman, who are each in their second season with Whitewater. Hoffman played in the CCHL in the 2019-20 season with the Kanata Lasers. Gould is proud of what has happened to Whitewater all season is excited to be in the playoffs.
“It means a lot to be a part of the first playoffs as the GM of the Whitewater Kings, and to be able to bring EOJHL playoffs to Cobden. The players are excited and highly motivated to make some noise in the playoffs. Very proud of this team, we have a very young roster that have worked hard and bought into the coach’s system and methodology.”
Leading the ways in points was Reid Greer with 20 goals and 35 points during his first EOJHL season. Only one point behind Greer was Brandon Reinisch, who had 20 assists and 14 points. Sean Tallon finished with 25 points on defense while Paquin had 24 points. Holmes and Jones each collected 22 points as well. It was a great mixed between rookies and veterans throughout the season.
“The roster has four players that have played in the league prior to COVID so we are very young, but all of the players bought into the team systems. Our defense core is built around 16 and 17 year old players which have had their growing pains, but coming out of the break looking like a veteran crew, a good mix of offensive flair and hard-nosed hockey. Our forward lines are a mixed of vets and rookies. The forward group plays with a lot of speed and aggression. Our younger players have stepped up to become key contributors.” said Gould.
Issac Wilson had to play in 32 of the 41 games in net during the regular season. Wilson went 14-14-2, to go along with one shutout, 3.63 GAA / .882 SV%. The stats might not show his best stats but he’s been a rock solid goaltender throughout the season.
“Goaltending has been a strength with our team and a steading force in the net which has given players the confidence. It’s allowed Whitewater to be competitive in all of our games,” said Gould.
A lot of games against Arnprior during the season was one goal affairs, which shows that they can play against really good teams. Gould talks about his keys to victory.
All our games against Arnprior have been very competitive and close. They are a very good team with a lot of offensive talent. For Whitewater to upset the third place Arnprior Packers, we will need to stick to our system, no matter what the score of the game is. Play a smart fast game and be very disciplined on the defensive side of the puck. We need to attack with speed and have all of our players contribute in their different roles.
Whitewater will need to stay out of the penalty box like Gould mention because the Kings penalty kill ranked 14th at 78.6%. If they don’t stay disciplined, it’ll be tough on Whitewater to try and comeback against a strong team like Arnprior.
Special teams might play into a factor on who wins this series. Arnprior was 20.2% on the power play and penalty kill was at 9th at 82%. Whitewater was ranked 15th on the power play and 14th on the penalty kill. The weakness for both teams is their penalty killing, but in this series stats are out the window. Whitewater will need to play great defense and have solid goaltending from Issac Wilson. For Arnprior, Couvrette mentioned in keys to victory, keep the opponents to the outside and make life difficult for Whitewater.