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NOJHL announces its Eastlink TV 3 Stars of the week

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Monday that Powassan Voodoos goaltender Joe Vrbetic along with forwards Spencer Van Tiem of the Soo Thunderbirds and Kyle Liinamaa of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians have been named its Eastlink TV 3 Stars of the Week, for the period ending Feb. 17.

JOE VRBETIC, (G) POWASSAN VOODOOS – Getting the start in both of Powassan’s match-ups over the weekend, Vrbetic was solid in each of them as he helped backstop the Voodoos to a couple of wins.

On Friday the 16-year-old rookie netminder from Dunvegan, Ont., made a combined 46 saves in regulation and overtime along with two more in the shootout in a 3-2 win vs. Kirkland Lake.

One night later he made another 28 stops in a 3-1 triumph at Elliot Lake to wrap-up his weekly run with a 1.44 goals-against average as well as a .961 save percentage.

Vrbetic’s .929 save mark currently leads all league rookie goaltenders and he sports a 7-1 win-loss record in his past eight appearances.

SPENCER VAN TIEM, (F) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Van Tiem tallied in all three Thunderbirds triumphs over the time frame aiding in Sault Ste. Marie wrapping up the league’s regular season title.

Hailing from Birmingham, Mich., the 20-year-old began by scoring twice, including game-winner, in a 5-2 win at Blind River last Monday.

Friday night saw him notch another goal in a road decision over the rival Soo Eagles before he capped off his run with another game-winning effort, along with an assist, in 3-2 victory at Blind River Sunday.

Of his eight goals so far, which have come in just 19 appearances with the Thunderbirds this season, four have been the winning tally, which ties him for third on the club in that category.

KYLE LIINAMAA, (F) RAYSIDE-BALFOUR CANADIANS – In a pair of Rayside-Balfour victories last week, the 20-year-old from Sudbury picked up four points.

He began with a goal and two assists, including one on the game-winner as the Canadians clipped Elliot Lake then set-up the tying tally late in regulation in a come from behind shootout win at Espanola.

With points in five straight contests as well as in 17 of his past 19 outings, Liinamaa leads the Canadians in offensive production this season with 44 in 50 games on 19 markers and 25 helpers.

A veteran of 154 NOJHL games, the third-year forward is just two points shy of 150 in his career that has seen him score on 55 occasions and help set-up 93 more.

Eastlink TV 3 Stars

Week 1
David Campbell, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Mihali See, (F) Soo Eagles
Shayne Battler, (G) Cochrane Crunch

Week 2
Cade Herd, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Gregory Brassard, (G) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Brendan Young, (F) Blind River Beavers

Week 3
Joseph Benedeto, (G) Soo Eagles
Joe Vrbetic, (G) Powassan Voodoos
Steven Bellini, (D) Soo Thunderbirds

Week 4
Lucas Theriault, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Tyler Masternak, (G) Timmins Rock
Gregory Trudeau-Paquet, (F) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners

Week 5
Thomson Phinney, (G) Blind River Beavers
Nick Smith, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Christian Snyder, (F) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners

Week 6
Tyler Masternak, (G) Timmins Rock
Benjamin Hatanaka, (F) Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Gabriel LeBlanc, (D) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners

Week 7
Zach Wickson, (G) Cochrane Crunch
Riley Brosseau, (F) Timmins Rock
Dante Cavaliere, (D) Blind River Beavers

Week 8
Derek Seguin, (F) Timmins Rock
Matthew Bazarin, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Connor Taylor, (F) Elliot Lake Wildcats

Week 9
Will Frustaglio, (F) French River Rapids
Joel Rainville, (G) Espanola Express
Max Griffioen, (F) Hearst Lumberjacks

Week 10
Christian Cicigoi, (G) Powassan Voodoos
Ethan Lavallee, (D) Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Philippe Daoust, (F) French River Rapids

Week 11
Riley Nadeau, (F) Blind River Beavers
Philippe Daoust, (F) French River Rapids
Levi Siau, (F) French River Rapids

Week 12
Tyler Masternak, (G) Timmins Rock
Gage Stephney, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Zach Wickson, (G) Cochrane Crunch

Week 13
Gage Stephney, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Dawson Rodin, (G) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Marshall Frappier, (G) French River Rapids

Week 14
Trent Grimshaw, (F) Cochrane Crunch
Max Griffioen, (F) Hearst Lumberjacks
Sebastein Plamondon, (G) Rayside-Balfour Canadians

Week 15
Ryan Mulligan, (D) Blind River Beavers
Alec Johnson, (D) Hearst Lumberjacks
Justin Bofshever, (F) Cochrane Crunch

Week 16
Nicholas Tallarico, (G) Hearst Lumberjacks
David Bowen, (G) Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Brendan Young, (F) Blind River Beavers

Week 17
Dominic Boily, (G) Elliot Lake Wildcats
Quinn Schneidmiller, (D) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Kobe Keller, (F) Soo Eagles

Week 18
Nick Smith, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Aiden Wagner, (F) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Dominic Skrelja, (F) Soo Eagles

Week 19
Alec Johnson, (D) Hearst Lumberjacks
Noah Boman, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Eric Conley, (F) Elliot Lake Wildcats

Week 20
Jake Desando, (F) Hearst Lumberjacks
Tyler Masternak, (G) Timmins Rock
Shane Brancato, (G) Soo Eagles

Week 21
Zach Wickson, (G) Cochrane Crunch
Tomas Yachmenev, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Caleb Minns, (F) Elliot Lake Wildcats

Week 22
Cade Herd, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Noah Boman, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Cameron Clark, (F) Hearst Lumberjacks

Week 23
Joe Vrbetic, (G) Powassan Voodoos
Spencer Van Tiem, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Kyle Liinamaa, (F) Rayside-Balfour Canadians