Ottawa, Ontario – The Westport Rideaus will host the Arnprior Packers in game one of their best of seven Richardson Division Semi-Final on Sunday March 8th inside the Westport Community Arena.
Schedule: Westport (30-11-3) vs. Arnprior (22-19-3)
Game 1: Sunday March 8th @ 2:00PM – Westport Community Arena
Game 2: Monday March 9th @ 7:30PM – Nick Smith Centre
Game 3: Friday March 13th @ 8:00PM – Westport Community Arena
Game 4: Sunday March 15th @ 7:30PM – Nick Smith Centre
Game 5: Monday March 16th @ 8:00PM – Westport Community Arena
Game 6: Wednesday March 18th @ 7:30PM – Nick Smith Arena
Game 7: Friday March 20th @ 8:00PM – Westport Community Arena
These two teams will be facing off in a playoff series for the first time since CCHL2 existed. Westport was first in the league in goals for in the regular season and Arnprior is known for their best goaltending and getting a lot of depth. Arnprior finished fifth and were 22-19-3 while Westport is coming off a big last game of the regular season against Carleton Place by winning 9-3 back in February.
The season series was tied at two wins a piece, but Westport outscored Arnprior 24-to-14 for a goal differential at +10. The last time these two teams met was on February 16th when Arnprior was down 4-0 and came back to win 6-4.
Westport’s keys to Victory:
Westport was first in the league in goals for with 230 and had a goal differential at +90 which also ranked first in the regular season. General Manager and Head Coach Michael ‘Bundy’ Seed says that they’ll need to rely on all the players to contribute.
“Moving forward we feel we’ll have to rely on our full group of 20 players. We’ll rely on our offensive players to continue to find the net, but our role players will play big roles by shutting down Arnprior’s top line and power play throughout the series.”
Blake Kettyle was the league’s MVP and had 39 goals, to go along with 51 assists and 90 points. Sean James was also rookie of the year and a Kingston Frontenacs draft pick by collecting 30 goals and 43 assists. Anthony Ieradi had 51 points while Boisclair, Watson, Carswell and Nicholson each had 40+ points. Westport will also need to focus on staying discipline and goaltending according to Seed.
“Discipline will play a huge part in this series. Arnprior is a big physical team that play an aggressive style, we’ll have to stay disciplined and not get frustrated. Our guys will have to match their intensity and work ethic to be successful. Goaltending as always will play a huge factor in this series. We know Cameron Scott will be solid in net for Arnprior and our group will need to find a way to get pucks and traffic through. Our goaltending tandem of 16 year old Patrick Leaver and 18 year old Kaleb Griffin have been solid all year and expect that not to change,” said Seed.
Leaver finished the season with a 2.75 GAA / .920 SV% and was 16-6-1 in 27 games while Griffin was 14-5 in 22 games, to go along with a 3.39 GAA / .899 SV%. Seed says that the major key for a succesful series will be special teams, maintain an aggressive forecheck and work ethic for 60 minutes every night.
Westport’s power play this season was second in the league at 25.9% and their penalty kill was 10th in the league at 80.9%.
Arnprior’s Keys to Victory:
Arnprior is coming off a series win last night against Renfrew and remember they lost in Game one but bounced back in games two and three. Arnprior Packers General Manager Matt Couvrette says their depth was the reason that Arnprior had success.
“Our depth allowed us to roll four lines throughout the majority of the game and when it came down to it, our top guys were our top guys Being able to rely on 20 year olds experience brought along the younger players and helped them out when our backs were against the wall.”
Joel Driscoll, James Buckley, Kai Nicholson, Pat Bones and Kade Leggett were big in that series by collecting three points wile Seth Gillingham and Jared Campitelli each collected two goals. The biggest reason why Arnprior was so successful was goaltender Cameron Scott and secondary scoring.
“Cam Scott is our MVP and should have been in this league. He showed it Friday night in the biggest game of his life and have no doubt he will be ready to go Sunday in Westport. Gillingham, Leggett and Cugliette is the best 3rd line in this league and gives us another level of attack that most teams don’t have,” said Couvrette.
Arnprior are the underdogs coming into this series against Westport and will have to fight through adversity if they want to win this series.
“We stick to our game, we can’t get caught up in a run and gun game that Westport wants. If we take the physical play to them and work hard in the corners like we did against Renfrew, we can surprise a lot of people,” said Couvrette on how they can be successful against Westport.
Westport are the favourites to win this series over Arnprior because of Westport’s top players this season. Special teams, discipline, goaltending and depth scoring are going to be big factors heading into this series. If Arnprior can keep themselves in this series against Westport, then expect this series to go far.