NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Weekly action features 7-game slate
SUDBURY — A total of seven games are on the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League schedule this week as clubs continue jockeying for playoff positions.
While adverse weather conditions caused the postponement of the Sudbury Nickel Barons – Kirkland Lake Gold Miners contest Wednesday the Soo Thunderbirds will still be in Elliot Lake to take on the Bobcats at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday’s match-up sees the league-leading Thunderbirds looking to continue their dominance over the Bobcats having coming away victorious in their first six get togethers this season, which included a 6-5 double overtime triumph on Jan. 20.
A trio of 7:30 p.m. tilts go Friday, including Sault Ste. Marie meeting the Abitibi Eskimos in Timmins in a make-up game that was postponed earlier this month due to inclement weather and highway closures.
Also on tap Friday we’ll see Kirkland Lake hosting North Bay while Sudbury travels to Elliot Lake.
Winners of five of the six meetings vs. the Gold Miners the Trappers have seen Greg Dodds go 5-0 against Kirkland Lake on the season.
The Nickel Barons have held the edge on the first-year Bobcats to date winning four of the previous five encounters.
Blind River’s lone game of the week sees them entertaining Sault Ste. Marie Saturday while Sudbury heads to Iroquois Falls to meet Abitibi in the evening’s other contest.
Head-to-head action between the T-Birds and Beavers sees the Soo holding a 3-2 season-series lead.
Both of Blind River’s victories have come in overtime.
Sudbury meanwhile has taken four of the first six encounters against the Eskimos on the campaign.
A Sunday matinee at 1 p.m. in Elliot Lake with the Thunderbirds paying their second visit in five days to Centennial Arena will conclude weekly play.
The contest will also be the fourth road game in five days for the T-Birds.
PER-GAME PROFICIENCY: Taking a look at the skaters in the NOJHL who have played 20 games or more so far this season, it is well balanced among most league member clubs when it comes to points-per-game average.
Five of the NOJHL’s seven teams have players represented in the top 10 in point-per-game prowess.
Leading the way is the Sudbury Nickel Barons dynamic duo of Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines.
The NOJHL’s two leading point producers sit one-two in P/PG with Leroux sitting at 2.06 followed by Haines at 2.00.
A couple of Soo Thunderbirds are next with Greg Sartoretto at 1.62 with Adam Ritchie close behind at 1.61.
Then there is Abitibi Eskimos leading scorer Ryan Wildman rounds out the top five at 1.42 points per contest.
After Wildman, Darcy Casola of the T-Birds at 1.39 followed by the Eskimos’ Peter Poulin-Roy who sits with a P/PG of 1.35.
Blind River’s top offensive performers in Samuel Wilbur and Corey McEwen are knotted for eighth in this category at 1.11.
Trevor Hunt of the North Bay Trappers rounds out the top 10 with a P/PG of 1.10.
NOJHL LEADERS: POINTS-PER-GAME AVERAGE (Minimum 20 games played)
PLAYER TEAM GP PTS P/PG
Sebastien Leroux Sudbury 34 70 2.06
Darcy Haines Sudbury 33 66 2.00
Greg Sartoretto Soo 21 34 1.62
Adam Ritchie Soo 33 53 1.61
Ryan Wildman Abitibi 24 34 1.42
Darcy Casola Soo 36 50 1.39
Peter Poulin-Roy Abitibi 20 27 1.35
Corey McEwen Blind River 35 39 1.11
Samuel Wilbur Blind River 37 41 1.11
Trevor Hunt North Bay 30 33 1.10
NOJHL TEAMS: Overall record last 10 games
TEAM RECORD LAST 10
North Bay 6-3-1-0
Kirkland Lake 6-4-0-0
Blind River 4-6-0-0
Elliot Lake 1-8-0-1
NOJHL THREE STARS: Bouncing back after a tough 3-1 loss to the Sudbury Nickel Barons last week, the Soo Thunderbirds piled on the offense in a 9-1 win over the Blind River Beavers.
A key contributor in that onslaught grabbed top spot as the “NOJHL Three Stars of the Week” are announced for the week ending on Sunday, Jan. 27.
Brandon Warmington (Soo Thunderbirds): Sault Ste Marie native Brandon Warmington is one of four members of the T-Birds bunched between 32 and 34 points after the 5’11” forward racked up four points in the lopsided win over Blind River.
The quartet are monopolizing the 11th to 15th placings in the league scoring race, with only Trevor Hunt of North Bay squeezing in with 33 points.
Currently in his first year with the Thunderbirds after being acquired from the Thunder Bay North Stars, Warmington also enjoyed a five-point game against Sudbury in October prior to his four point outburst against the Beavers.
Jean-Francois Sylvestre (Kirkland Lake Gold Miners): If not for a 4-1 loss at the hands of the North Bay Trappers, Cochrane native Jean-Francois Sylvestre would have at least one point in every single game he has played since being acquired by the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in mid-November.
That streak was extended last week as the 20 year-old forward recorded a goal and four assists in wins over both Elliot Lake and Sudbury.
Despite playing in less than a third as many games as many of his teammates, Sylvestre has climbed into ninth place in team scoring, sure to jump a few slots higher before the end of the regular season.
Aaron Kerr (Abitibi Eskimos): The trade of team captain Richard Therrien earlier this month has opened up some ice time for some of the younger Eskimo forwards and Aaron Kerr is taking full advantage.
The 16-year-old Timmins native compiled a season high three-point game, leading Abitibi to a 5-3 win over Elliot Lake last week.
Appearing in 31 games to date with the Eskies, Kerr boasts the unusual statistical anomaly of having far more goals than assists, with 17 of his 22 points to date coming courtesy of putting the puck in the back of the net.
One of two siblings with Abitibi this year (older brother Kevin also mans the blue-line for the Eskimos), Aaron Kerr finds himself now fourth in team scoring after toiling with the Schumacher Cubs last year.
DID YOU KNOW: North Bay Trappers netminder Greg Dodds is among the leaders in the Canadian Junior Hockey League in victories.
Of the 127 current CJHL clubs and approximately 254 goaltenders on those respective team rosters Dodds is tied for 18th in total wins with 19.
He is knotted with 12 other puck stoppers across the CJHL who are one win shy of the 20 plateau this season.
Dodds also leads the NOJHL in save percentage at .925 and sits seconds in goals-against average at 2.31.
2013 DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: ViseSports.com, a leading online sports and social media site, along with the North Bay Trappers, the host of the 2012-13 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, along with the NOJHL are pleased to announce the launch of the official event website at www.dudleyhewittcup.com.
The Trappers will serve as the host team for the 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A championship.
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.
The five-day event is being staged at North Bay Memorial Gardens April 30 through May 4 with the tournament winner advancing to represent the region one week later at the 2013 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Jr. A championship in Summerside, P.E.I.
The DHC website will contain a culmination of social media conversations and content focused on this year’s Dudley Hewitt Cup as well as each league leading up to the event.
This platform will aggregate the excitement and passion from the rink to the web, into one location.
Fans, participants and non-participants in the Dudley Hewitt will enjoy a unique way of tracking the event and sharing in their experiences, in real time.
“We are excited about being a part of this season’s Dudley Hewitt Cup,” states Jason Butterfield, co-founder of ViseSports.com.
“It’s an important focus and event for many players, fans, coaches and scouts. We’ve used leading-edge technology to build a social media experience and website around the Dudley Hewitt Cup.”
“The Trappers and the North Bay junior hockey fans are very pleased to be in a position to Host this season’s Central Canadian Championships in the storied North Bay Memorial Gardens this April 30th to May 4th,“ stated Trappers Club Chairman Tim Clayden.
“What makes this season extremely exciting for us in North Bay and for all NOJHL teams is that no team at this point in the season is a clear cut favourite to attend the Dudley Hewitt Cup this spring,” added Clayden.
The Buffalo Jr. Sabres have taken over top spot in the OJHL in overall points with 70.
However, the Trenton Golden Hawks boast the best winning percentage in that league at .750 while sitting just one point shy of the Jr. Sabres in the overall standings. They also hold two games in hand.
The Georgetown Raiders are also one of the OJHL clubs in the hunt for first overall as they sit with 67 points and a game in hand on Buffalo.
Continuing to lead the SIJHL are the two-time defending champion Minnesota Wilderness.
They are on quite as roll having gone 24-0-0-1 in their past 25 games while running away with the league regular season title sitting at 36-3-1 overall while not having lost in regulation since Oct. 24.
The Wilderness remains the No. 2 ranked club in the Canadian Jr. Hockey League.
CJHL TOP 20: The latest Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings released earlier this week features three Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League clubs garnering recognition.
Moving up to No. 15 in the CJHL listings, which are formulated each week in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting, are the NOJHL-leading Soo Thunderbirds.
Sault Ste. Marie tops their league table with 54 points and a 24-6-3-3 overall record.
Right behind them in the 16th slot are the second place North Bay Trappers while the Sudbury Nickel Barons earned themselves Honourable Mention laurels.
The 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup host Trappers sit two points in arrears of the Thunderbirds presently sporting a 23-6-3-3 mark.
Sudbury also remains in the hunt for top spot in the NOJHL sitting eight points out of first with a record of 23-12-0-0.
There was no change once again among the top three rated clubs in the CJHL.
The Alberta Jr. Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits maintained their hold as the top team nationally while the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League are back at No. 2 and the surging Summerside Western Capitals over in the Maritime Hockey League stay at No. 3.
Brooks are winners of six straight games and boast the top record in the CJHL at 43-2-2.
The Wilderness have also won six consecutive contests and hold a comfortable lead atop the SIJHL standings at 36-3-0-1, including having gone 24-0-0-1 in their last 25 games.
As for Summerside, they remain one of the hottest team in the CJHL as well having reeled off 15 victories in succession. The 2013 Royal Bank Cup hosts are first overall in the MHL at 34-6-0-2.
The following are the CJHL Top 20 teams, as of Jan. 28, listing their overall ranking, their position last week, as well as the league they are a member of.
1. (1) Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
2. (2) Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL)
3. (3) Summerside Western Capitals (MHL)
4. (6) Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
5. (5) Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
6. (11) Humboldt Broncos (SJHL)
7. (9) Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
8. (10) Truro Bearcats (MHL)
9. (7) Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL)
10. (8) Dauphin Kings (MJHL)
11. (4) Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)
12. (12) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
13. (HM) Georgetown Raiders (OJHL)
14. (17) Winnipeg Blues (MJHL)
15. (16) Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
16. (18) North Bay Trappers (NOJHL)
17. (NR) Surrey Eagles (BCHL)
18. (19) Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)
19. (12) Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
20. (20) College Francais de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ)
Honourable Mention: Sudbury Nickel Barons (NOJHL), Melville Millionaires (SJHL), OCN Blizzard (MJHL), Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL), Amherst Ramblers (MHL).
ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The Eskimos face a stiff test in their two games this week as they take on the two hottest clubs during the past 10 games in Sault Ste. Marie Friday, (6-2-1-1) which will be played in Timmins and is a make-up game that was postponed earlier due to weather. Saturday they host Sudbury (9-1 past 10) at Jus Jordan Arena. … The club sits fifth in the league standings. … Ryan Wildman leads the team offensively with 34 points, including 14 goals. He is also fifth in the NOJHL in point-per-game average at 1.42. Teammate Peter Poulin-Roy is seventh at 1.35.
BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Blind River’s lone contest this week is at home Saturday as they host the first place Thunderbirds. … The Beavers sit sixth in the league standings, two points behind Abitibi in fifth. … Samuel Wilbur lies fifth in NOJHL scoring with 41 points. … Corey McEwen is close behind in sixth with 39 points. … The duo are also knotted for eighth in point-per-game average at 1.11. … McEwen has registered at least one point in 13 of his past 15 games.
ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – A busy week for the Bobcats has them playing three times, all at home. They host The Soo T-Birds twice with a game vs. Sudbury in between. … The club is 7-6-1 when scoring first in a game so far this season, but 1-18 when their opposition gets on the board first. … They are only 1-8-0-1 in their past 10 games. … Elliot Lake has scored the fewest goals in the league so far this season at 91 with their 176 against being the second most given up in the league. … Steve Gaul’s 23 points leads the squad. … Henry Berger and Brad Holman are next with 20. … Six of the 10 tallies Nicholas Tassone has notched this season have come on the power play. … Elliot Lake plays five of their next six contests at home on Centennial Arena ice.
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – With weather postponing their game in Sudbury tonight the Gold Miners will look to extend their winning streak to five when they host North Bay Friday …They are 6-4 in their previous 10 games as the club sits firmly in fourth place in the league standings at 20-15-2-1. … Captain Connor McNally still leads the team offensively in both goals and points with 18 and 30 respectively. He has point in seven of his past eight. … 10 of Steven Babin’s 15 goals have come on the power play, which is the most in the league. … Among netminders who have played 1,000 or more minutes Chris Komma sits third in goals-against average in the NOJHL at 2.72. His three shutouts lead the league. He has also played the most minutes in the NOJHL at 1,739:39. Komma’s 16 victories tie him for the second most overall in the NOJHL.
NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers moved up two notches to No. 16 overall in the most recent CJHL rankings. … North Bay’s lone game this week is at Kirkland Lake Friday before returning home for three straight at Memorial Gardens. … Greg Dodds leads all NOJHL goalkeepers in wins with 19. He is second in goals-against average in the league at 2.31 and first in save percentage at .925. … Brandon Janke and Brennen Dubchak share the team scoring lead with 35 points apiece. … Cole Klippenstein leads all NOJHL D-men in goals and points with 12 and 26 respectively. … North Bay is 10-0-2 when Graham Pickard picks up at least one point in a game.
SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds still have four games left of six straight away from home… They currently sit in first place in the league standings at 24-6-3-3. … The T-Birds were tabbed 15th in the latest CJHL rankings. … They are 6-2-1-1 in their past 10. … Adam Ritchie remains third in NOJHL scoring with 53 points. … Darcy Casola (22g-28a-50pts) is fourth in NOJHL scoring. … Greg Sartoretto is third in the league in point-per-game average at 1.62. … Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk leads all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.24 and sits second in save percentage at .923. His 16 wins to date ties him for second most in the NOJHL.
SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Despite having a 10-game winning streak snapped in their last game the club is still 13-3 in their past 16. … Their recent success earned them Honourable Mention in the latest CJHL rankings. … Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines remain first and second in league scoring with 70 and 66 points respectively. … Both players had 10-game point streaks dashed in their last outing, a 6-2 loss at Kirkland Lake. … Leroux has only been held pointless four times so far this season. … Haines leads all skaters in the league in goals with 31. … He sits second in power play tallies with eight. … Michael Muzyka is fourth in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 3.33. … He is 6-2 in his last eight appearances. Netminding partner Alex Laino is 7-1 in as many games and sits fifth in GAA at 3.82. … The Nickel Barons are at Elliot Lake Friday and Abitibi Saturday.