NOJHL NOTEBOOK: 2013 portion of NOJHL season to get underway Friday



Release Date: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013

NOJHL NOTEBOOK: 2013 portion of NOJHL season to get underway Friday

SUDBURY — The 2013 portion of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League campaign gets underway Friday as part of a four-game weekend in regular season competition.

Meanwhile a pair of NOJHL clubs will be taking on two Superior International Junior Hockey League squads in an inter-league Showcase event.

Friday’s lone league game features Blind River heading to Kirkland Lake to take on the Gold Miners in the seventh meeting of the season between the two sides.

Kirkland Lake leads the season series with a 4-1-1 record.

Saturday’s action features the Beavers traveling to Iroquois Falls to take on the Abitibi Eskimos in a 7:30 p.m. start at Jus Jordan Arena while the Gold Miners are home once again with the North Bay Trappers providing the opposition.

Blind River and Abitibi have combined for 59 goals in just five games with the Eskimos coming out on top in four of those encounters.

Play this week concludes Sunday as Kirkland Lake and North Bay finish off a home-and-home at Memorial Gardens at 7 p.m.

The two contests between the Miners and Trappers will mark the fifth and sixth meetings of the season between the sides.

North Bay has come away victorious in three of the first four get togethers.

Both the Soo Thunderbirds and Elliot Lake Bobcats will be in Wisconsin this weekend to take on SIJHL’s Minnesota Wilderness and Fort Frances Lakers.

Action in the Superior-Northern Showdown begins Friday when Sault Ste. Marie meets Fort Frances at 3:30 CT/4:30 p.m. ET followed by Elliot Lake and Minnesota at 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET.

Two more tilts will go Saturday, Jan. 5 as the Bobcats tangle with the Lakers at 3:30 CT/4:30 p.m. and the T-Birds take on the Wilderness at 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET.
One other contest will also be featured on Sunday, Jan. 6 as the Bobcats will meet the Wilderness for a second time with this match-up being held in nearby Hayward, Wis. at 2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET.

NOJHL THREE STARS: With the league on its holiday break the last 12 days there was no game action last week.

Thus the NOJHL Three Stars will return in next week’s edition of the NOJHL Notebook.

CJHL TOP 20: The Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings will return in the New Year with the next listings set to be released on Monday, Jan. 7.

The most recent CJHL Top 20 had the Soo Thunderbirds in 12th spot overall while the North Bay Trappers garnered Honourable Mention.

STREAKS: Entering the New Year the Sudbury Nickel Barons were the hottest team in the league.

Sudbury wrapped up 2012 winning six consecutive games, including defeating first place Sault Ste. Marie twice.

Helping lead the Nickel Barons were the top two point producers in the NOJHL in forwards Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines.

Both skaters have six-game point streaks on the go with Leroux registering seven goals and 10 assists in that span while Haines chipped in with six tallies and eight helpers.

North Bay’s Trevor Hunt has points in four straight contests helping the Trappers go 3-0-1 in that span while scoring once and setting up seven others.

On the defensive end Kirkland Lake goaltender Chris Komma will begin play in 2013 looking to extend a personal goalless streak.

The Gold Miners’ netminder has posted back-to-back shutouts in his last two starts and has not allowed a goal in his last 122 minutes and four seconds of game action.

2013 DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: The North Bay Trappers will serve as the host team for the 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A championship tournament.

The five-day event will be held at North Bay Memorial Gardens April 30 through May 4. It features the Trappers along with the champions of the NOJHL, Ontario Junior Hockey League and Superior International Junior Hockey League taking part.

Should North Bay go on to capture the NOJHL championship, then the league finalist will round out the four-team field with a berth to the Royal Bank Cup national Jr. A championship in Summerside, P.E.I. in May on the line.

Looking at the NOJHL’s potential competition at the DHC you’ll find the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Junior Hockey League are going all out to make their third straight Dudley-Hewitt appearance. The No. 2 ranked club in the Canadian Junior Hockey League are the winners of 17 games in a row they currently pace the SIJHL standings with a 29-3 record.

Over in the Ontario Junior Hockey League it’s close near the top in points with only two points separating the three leading teams.

The Buffalo Jr. Sabres have the most points overall with 59 followed by the Trenton Golden Hawks at 56 and the Georgetown Raiders at 55.

Trenton currently leads the way in winning percentage at .757 with Buffalo next at .720 and the Oakville Blades at .712.


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – Abitibi returns to game action Saturday as they welcome Blind River to Jus Jordan Arena. … The Eskimos sit fifth in the league standings at 11-16-0-1. … Team captain Richard Therrien sits third in NOJHL offensive numbers with 56 points. 34 of those points have come in his previous 13 games. His nine power play goals put him in a tie for the league lead… Ryan Wildman is second in team scoring with 30 points in just 19 outings. … Abitibi plays four of their next five as the home team. This includes a Jan. 11 neutral site contest in Timmins vs. the T-Birds.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Blind River looks to extend a modest winning streak to two as they open play in 2013 on Friday at Kirkland Lake. That will be the first of three straight on the road the club will play in the New Year. Their first home date in January will be Jan. 12 vs. Sudbury. … The club is 6-17-2-4 overall and sits in sixth in the league standings. … Forward Samuel Wilbur is seventh in NOJHL scoring with 32 points on 13 goals and 19 assists. He has points in eight of his last 11 outings. …Corey McEwen is knotted for 11th in league scoring with 28 points, including 10 tallies.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – With the Bobcats competing in the Showdown Series vs. the SIJHL their Jan. 4 league contest vs. Sudbury has been moved to Feb. 1 and the game they had on that date against Sault Ste. Marie with now be played on Feb. 3. …Elliot Lake has scored the fewest goals in the league so far this season at 73 while their 143 against is the second most given up in the league. … Steve Gaul leads the Bobcats offensively with 19 points. … Brad Holman is next with 18. … Six of the nine goals Nicholas Tassone has scored this season have come on the power play. … When scoring first in a game the Bobcats are 6-2-1, but a mere 1-18 when their opposition strike first.
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners are 16-11-2-1 overall sitting in fourth place in the NOJHL standings. … Kirkland Lake has a two-game home stand to kick off 2013 as they host Blind River Friday and North Bay Saturday before rounding out the week Sunday on the road vs. the Trappers. …Captain Connor McNally has a three-game point streak on the go and leads the team offensively in goals with 17 and points at 26. … Nine of Steven Babin’s 13 goals have come on the power play tying him for the league lead. … Netminder Chris Komma has posted back-to-back shutouts and has an active goalless streak of 122 minutes and four seconds. He is second in wins with 12 and fourth in goals-against average at 2.74. He is also fourth in save percentage at .900.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers begin play in the New Year with a Saturday-Sunday home-and-home vs. Kirkland Lake. . … They are 3-0-1 in their past four and sit two points behind Sault Ste. Marie in the race for first in the overall standings with three games in hand. … North Bay sports the seventh best winning percentage in the entire CJHL at .778. … The club has scored the second most goals in the NOJHL this season at 125 while allowing the fewest against at 68. … Goalie Greg Dodds leads the league the NOJHL in wins with 14. He is second in goals-against average in the league at 2.36 and has the best save percentage at .924. … Brandon Janke is eighth in league scoring while leading the Trappers with 31 points. … Brennen Dubchak (11g-15a-26pts) and Samuel Blanchet (12g-13a-25pts) are second and third on the squad and rank in the top 20 overall. … Cole Klippenstein leads all NOJHL D-men in points with 24. … North Bay is 9-0-2 when Graham Pickard picks up at least one point in a game. … The Trappers play five of seven on the road.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The No. 12 CJHL ranked Thunderbirds will meet SIJHL competition for the first time since winning last season’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup in Thunder Bay. They defeated the Wilderness 4-3 in overtime to begin that event. … They are 11th overall in the CJHL in winning percentage at .733. …  Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk leads all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.27 and in save percentage at .921. … Another first-year netminder in Steven Dombrowski has won his last seven starts and is third in GAA at 2.64 and save percentage at .912. … The Soo continues to have four players among the top 10 in NOJHL scoring. Darcy Casola (20g-26a-46pts) sits fourth, Adam Ritchie (18g-23a-41pts) is fifth, Greg Sartoretto (12g-22a-34pts) is sixth while Derek Battagin (9g-21a-30pts) is knotted for ninth. …The club’s next NOJHL action will be Jan. 11 in a neutral site game in Timmins vs. Abitibi.
SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The hottest team in the league, Sudbury has won six straight games heading into their Jan. 9 encounter at home against North Bay. … Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines are first and second in league scoring with 62 and 57 points respectively. … Leroux has only been held pointless three times so far this season. He has a six-game point streak. … Haines is second in the league in goals with 28. … Michael Muzyka remains fifth in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 3.34. … He is 5-2 in his last seven appearances. Alex Laino is 4-0 in his last four starts.