East Division semifinal series preview: Powassan vs. Kirkland Lake



Release Date: Friday, March 18, 2016

East Division semifinal series preview: Powassan vs. Kirkland Lake  

SUDBURY, Ont. – The highly anticipated Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division semifinal series between the Powassan Voodoos and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners gets underway tonight at 7 p.m. at the Powassan Sportsplex.

This best-of-seven affair will see Game 2 going Saturday at 7 p.m. back in Powassan before the series shifts to the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex in Kirkland Lake for Games 3 & 4 March 23-24 in a pair of 7:30 p.m. starts.

This year’s get together will also be a rematch of the playoff series the two sides had last season in which the Voodoos upended the Gold Miners in six games despite finishing 41 points lower in the standings.

In 2015-16, only three points separated the two Canadian Junior Hockey League ranked squads.

Powassan went 40-10-3-1 overall while Dudley-Hewitt Cup host Kirkland Lake finished with 39-12-2-1 mark.

Looking at the season series statistics compiled by NOJHL statistician and historian David Harrison, the clubs met four times during the campaign with the Gold Miners taking the season set 3-1.

The Voodoos won 5-2 back on Oct. 9 before Kirkland Lake reeled off three straight narrow victories by scores of 3-1, 3-2 and 3-2 again on Nov. 1, Dec. 19 and Jan. 22 respectively.

A trio of Powassan skaters shared the team lead in scoring vs. the Gold Miners as Nathaniel McLeod, Tyler Peters and Daniel Golba registered four points apiece.

McLeod and Peters both had two tallies to their credit while Golba dished out four assists.

Kirkland Lake used well-balanced offensive numbers against the Voodoos with 14 different skaters picking up at least one point through the four meetings.

Topping that list was the league’s leading point getter in Brayden Stortz and teammate Marc-Antoine Arseneau who had three points each.

Dalton Anderson and Joel Fortin were next with two points apiece.

Powassan netminder Garrett Forrest went 1-2 in four appearances posting a 2.18 goals-against average along with a .931 save percentage.

Mario Cavaliere appeared in one game and suffered a loss in relief.

Victor-Olivier Courchesne saw the bulk of the action in net for Kirkland Lake as he went 3-0 vs. Powassan this season with a stingy 1.67 average and a solid .938 save mark.

The Gold Miners, who went 5-0 to conclude regular season play, and, like the Voodoos, went 8-2 in their past 10 outings.

Both clubs are also solid defensively as Kirkland Lake allowed the second fewest goals against in the NOJHL at 135 while Powassan was third only giving up 137.

The Voodoos meanwhile notched the second-most goals scored at 278 and the Gold Miners were fourth in tallies at 247.

Both teams also feature multiple league-award recipients including CCM first team all-stars in Tyler Peters and Garrett Forrest of Powassan and Logan Fredericks of Kirkland Lakers.

The Voodoos Chris Dawson (General Manager) and the Gold Miners Carla Vine (Trainer) also earned CCM first team laurels.

League scoring champion Stortz was also a CCM second team all-star honouree for Kirkland Lake.

The winner of this series will meet either Cochrane or Timmins in the East Division final.

Game 1 of that best-of-seven saw the Crunch win 4-1 on home ice Thursday as they head into Game 2 Saturday back in Cochrane at the Tim Horton Event Centre.

All NOJHL playoff games are available online, via a pay-per-view basis, at FASTHockey.com.

East Division semifinal
No. 2 Powassan Voodoos vs. No. 3 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Best-of-seven series

Game 1: Friday, March 18 @ Powassan 7 p.m. (Sportsplex)
Game 2: Saturday, March 19 @ Powassan 7 p.m. (Sportsplex)
Game 3: Wednesday, March 23 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Game 4: Thursday, March 24 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Game 5*: Saturday, March 26 @ Powassan 7 p.m. (Sportsplex)
Game 6*: Tuesday, March 29 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 30 @ Powassan 7 p.m. (Sportsplex)
*-if necessary