NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Home teams have early edge in postseason play



Release Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Home teams have early edge in postseason play

SUDBURY — It has been all home teams so far after the first six games of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs.

In each of the have dozen contests played to date the home side has come away victorious in each of them.

The Sudbury Nickel Barons will look to continue that tendency this evening as they host the Elliot Lake Bobcats in game 3 of the best-of-seven series tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Elliot Lake will look to buck that trend however with a triumph tonight as they attempt to build on the momentum they received after taking game 2 Monday in dramatic fashion, courtesy of Nick Tassone’s double overtime winner.

The other two series in the opening round saw both the Soo Thunderbirds and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners secure victories in their first two match-ups of their respective series.

Sault Ste. Marie is up 2-0 on Abitibi heading into game 3 in Iroquois Falls Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. while the Gold Miners will be in Blind River Thursday for the third contest in that set with the opening face-off set for 7 p.m.

Resting up, waiting to see who their second round opponent will be are the North Bay Trappers who earned an opening round bye in postseason action by virtue of their first place finish and capturing the NOJHL regular season title.

The Thunderbirds Brandon Warmington holds the early playoff scoring lead having accumulated six points in just two games, including a league-best four-goal performance in a 7-5 victory over the Eskimos in game 2.

Abitibi’s Justin Holliday had a natural hat-trick in the same contest helping the Eskis battle back, but fall just short, in a comeback bid vs. the T-Birds.

Six other skaters share second in playoff offensive numbers as they have all picked up five points apiece.

Chris Komma of Kirkland Lake holds the early postseason lead among goaltenders in both goals-against average and save percentage.

Komma is 2-0 to date with 1.50 GAA along with a league-best .917 save mark to help put the Gold Miners up 2-0 against the Beavers.

REMAINING PLAYOFFS: After the opening round comes to a close the No. 1 seeded North Bay Trappers join the postseason fray along with the remaining three clubs in league semifinal action.

The Trappers will meet the lowest surviving seed in one best-of-seven match-up while the other two squads left in the hunt will meet in the other.

Round 2 in the NOJHL playoffs is expected to run between March 29 and April 10.

From there the two remaining teams will meet for the league championship from April 12-24.

Should North Bay earn a trip to the finals then the other squad joining them will be guaranteed a berth in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada champion, hosted by the Trappers, from April 30 to May 4.

The DHC winner then moves on to represent the region at the Royal Bank Cup national Jr. A event May 11-19 in Summerside, P.E.I.

Round 2 Semifinals (March 29 – April 10)
Series D: No. 1 North Bay Trappers vs. Lowest remaining seed
Series E: Winner of round one with second highest standing vs. third highest ranked winner
Round 3 NOJHL Final (April 12-24)
Series F: Semifinals winners meet for the NOJHL championship
Dudley-Hewitt Cup @ North Bay (April 30 – May 4)
North Bay Trappers; NOJHL champion or finalist; OJHL champion; SIJHL champion
Royal Bank Cup @ Summerside, P.E.I. (May 11-19)
Summerside Western Capitals (Host)
Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner, Fred Page Cup winner, Western Canada Cup winner and finalist.

DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: Earlier this week the game schedule for the 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup in North Bay was announced. Joining the Trappers will be the NOJHL champion or finalist along with the title holders from the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Junior Hockey League.

Dudley-Hewitt Cup tickets packages for all eight games remain on sale at the Trapper’s Box Office daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult packages are $95 while students and seniors go $75 and children just $50 and you can reserve your seat by calling by calling 705-474-3770.

The following is the 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup schedule:
Tuesday, April 30
OJHL vs. NOJHL 2:30 p.m.
SIJHL vs. North Bay Trappers 7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 1
NOJHL vs. SIJHL 2:30 p.m.
OJHL vs. North Bay 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 2
SIJHL vs. OJHL 2:30 p.m.
North Bay vs. NOJHL 7 p.m.
Friday, May 3
3rd Round Robin vs. 2nd Round Robin 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 4
Semifinal winner vs. 1st round robin 7 p.m. 

You can learn more on the Dudley-Hewitt Cup by visiting the official DHC website at


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The Eskimos will look to get back into their first round series with the Thunderbirds as they return home for games 3 and 4 Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. … Game 3 goes at 7:30 p.m. at Jus Jordan Arena while game 4 will be a 2 p.m. matinee. … Justin Holiday’s natural hat-trick vs. the T-Birds in game 2 gave him the team playoff scoring lead with three points. … A trio of Eskimos are next on the squad as Zach Innes, Ryan Kerr and Ryan Tront all have two points each. …Should the series go the distance they will play five games in five nights.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – The Beavers return home to the friendly confines of the Blind River Community Centre for games 3, 4 and if necessary 5 Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7p.m. vs. Kirkland Lake. … Team captain Adam Newkirk was named a first team NOJHL all-star on defence. Joining Newkirk on the first team is club general manager Rusty Joncas, who was also recognized for his efforts this season as the GM as he helped build a squad that improved by 16 points in 2012-13. … Tyson MacLeod and Brandon Bazinet share the team point lead with two apiece.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats won their first-ever NOJHL playoff game in dramatic fashion following a double OT victory over Sudbury in game 2 Monday night. … Nick Tassone will go into the team record books as being the player who notched that initial postseason game-winning goal. … Elliot Lakes visits Sudbury tonight before hosting game 4 Friday against the Nickel Barons. … Steve Gaul tops the Bobcats offensively so far in the playoffs with five points. That also ties him for second overall among all league skaters. … Brian Hennessey is next with four points.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – After winning the first two games in the series vs. Blind River, the Gold Miners now head to Blind River for the next two, and possibly, three games. … Jean-Michel Naud and Jean-Francois Silvestre share the team playoff point lead with five each, which is one off the league lead. … Chris Komma currently paces all NOJHL netminders in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.50 and .917 respectively. … If required, games 6 and 7 in the series will be played in Kirkland Lake March 26-27. … Kirkland Lake has allowed the fewest goals of any team competing in the first round of the playoffs at three. … The Gold Miners received plenty of accolades among the NOJHL all-star teams announced earlier. Jeremy Picard-Fiset was named a first teamer on defence while bench boss Marc Lafleur earned the nod as first team coach. … Manager Jim MacKinnon and trainer Carla Vine both garnered accolades on the second all-star team for their efforts with the club this season.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – Resting up and preparing for the second round of the NOJHL playoffs are the Trappers. … They earned that privilege by virtue of being crowned league regular season title holders after finishing atop the overall standings in 2012-13. … The Dudley-Hewitt Cup hosts will take on the lowest remaining seed in the second round of the postseason, which gets underway near the end of March. … North Bay netminder Greg Dodds was named the NOJHL first all-star team for his efforts on the ice this season. Dodds led all league puck stoppers in wins, (28) as well as goals-against average (2.25) and save percentage (.928) and was also tied for top spot in shutouts with three. … Rookie forward Tait Seguin also earned first team all-star laurels at left wing. … Cole Klippenstein was named a second teamer on defence while leading all NOJHL D-men in points. … Brandon Janke was a second team honouree at centre.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Sault Ste. Marie will look to take a firm grasp of the series vs. Abitibi as they head to Iroquois Falls Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Game 4 goes Sunday at 2 p.m. at Jus Jordan Arena. … Brandon Warmington leads the squad and all NOJHL players in postseason scoring with six points. … Darcy Casola is next with five. … Four members of the T-Birds were selected to the NOJHL second all-star team. Warmington and Casola earned the nod at left wing and right wing respectively while Joel Horodziejczyk was tabbed in goal and Michael Caruso earned a spot on defence. Caruso was the youngest of all the players named to any of the league all-star teams. … The Soo has scored the most goals in the playoffs to date with 16.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The Nickel Barons will look to retake the series lead vs. the Bobcats at home tonight before the series shifts back to Elliot Lake for game 4 Friday. …David Lazarus and Andre Comtois presently lead Sudbury in postseason scoring with five points each. That ties them for second overall among all NOJHL skaters. … Darcy Haines is next on the squad with four points. … Haines was named a first team all-star at centre after leading the league in goals. … Sebastien Leroux, who topped all players in offensive production on the season, was also earned first team honours as did trainer Mario Laino. … Picking up second a second team all-star nod was head coach Dave Clancy.