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Hang your helmets high, boys

March 6th,2024 | Opinion

The Paugan Falls Rapids served up a perfect plate of mashed, fluffy potatoes for hockey fans in Low when they dropped the puck on their inaugural season this past fall. 

The team then dumped a serving of gravy all over those taters in February after securing their first playoff berth in history and it kept coming when they upset the Bytown Royals in a dramatic and thrilling overtime win on home ice. 

But all things come to an end, and the end for the Rapids was this past weekend – a Game 3 loss to the two-time defending champions, the North Dundas Rockets March 2. It was the final curtain call on a Cinderella season that nobody could have imagined. 

“It truly was special.” – That’s how Rapids game day coordinator Mike Lachapelle described the first year for the new expansion team in the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (EOSHL). 

He’s bang on. If you look at the Rapids’ storybook season on paper, it would be hard to believe that you weren’t reading a script from a Hollywood hockey flick starring Rob Lowe or Ryan Reynolds. 

The Rapids were at the bottom of the EOSHL after their first 10 games of the season, with a 2-8-0 record, including a nasty 12-2 loss on home ice at the hands of the Bytown Royals. But the Rapids showed up at the rink every week to get better – and better they got. The team’s high points were much, much bigger than tough times.

Rapids captain Ryan Peck scored the game-winner in overtime during the team’s home-opener at the Low Arena Oct. 14, 2023 – in front of a packed crowd of 518 fans. Pass the gravy, please.

And after a few more ups and downs, the team really found their stride in the new year, stringing together a 3-2-0 record to squeak into the playoffs at the end of February. And this is where the Rapids found their magic. More gravy, please. 

Facing off against the Bytown Royals, the odds were stacked against them. The Rapids lost all four regular-season games to the Royals by a combined score of 38-13 but wouldn’t let history dictate the future. In a huge upset, the Rapids won Game 1 against the Royals in Ottawa – forcing a decisive Game 2 back in Low on Feb. 18, where defenceman Bryan Kealey became a hockey hero overnight. 

Kealey scored the thrilling overtime winner that sent the crowd of over 500 into a frenzy and cemented his name in Rapids lore, which will grow on for years to come. It was Kealey’s first goal of the season and the biggest in Rapids history; it was the team’s climactic moment of the season – one that you couldn’t make up. Cue mashed potato gravy volcano!

The Rapids may have lost their second-round series against the Rockets this past weekend, but they already won the hearts of hockey fans in the Hills. 

Be proud, boys. And thanks for the gravy. 

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