NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Neutral site contest in Espanola Friday highlights 7-game week



Release Date: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013

NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Neutral site contest in Espanola Friday highlights 7-game week

SUDBURY — It’s another seven-game stint in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League this week with action getting underway tonight as Sudbury hosts Elliot Lake in a 7:30 p.m. start at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff.

This will be the seventh of eight meetings between the two sides this season with the Nickel Barons currently holding a 4-2 edge.

Sudbury’s Darcy Haines has notched two of the four game-winning goals for his side.

A trio of tilts are on the docket Friday, including a recently added neutral site contest in Espanola between the Blind River Beavers and North Bay Trappers.

North Bay has come away victorious in four of the first five meetings while the other contest ended in a draw.

Connor Gilmartin has twice netted the winner in the season set.

Also on tap Friday sees Abitibi at Elliot Lake along with Sudbury visiting Kirkland Lake.

After Elliot Lake won the first meeting of the campaign back in October, the Eskimos have bounced back to win the last four games.

Abitibi forward Ryan Tront has set-up three game-winning tallies vs. the Bobcats to date.

Its’ been a closely contested season series between the Nickel Barons and Gold Miners with Kirkland Lake holding a 3-2 lead after five games.

All three Friday match-ups get underway at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s lone affair has Blind River home to Abitibi as the two sides square off for the seventh time in 2012-13. The Eskis have won four of the first six.

Rounding out the week will be a double dose of Sunday matinee hockey with North Bay at home to Kirkland Lake at 2 p.m. while Abitibi wraps up a three-game road weekend in Sault Ste. Marie vs. the Thunderbirds at 3 p.m.

The Trappers are 6-1 against the Gold Miners with Gilmartin having another two game-winners to his credit. As for the Eskimos and T-Birds, Abitibi won the opening meeting before the Soo roared back with five straight triumphs.

2013 DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: The 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup in North Bay is just 83 days away.

The NOJHL’s North Bay Trappers will serve as the host team for the five-day event.

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 tournament will be staged at North Bay’s venerable Memorial Gardens April 30 through May 4 with the DHC winner advancing to represent the region one week later at the 2013 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Jr. A championship in Summerside, P.E.I.

Dudley-Hewitt Cup tickets packages for all eight games are 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.

You can reserve your seat by calling by calling 705-474-3770.

Taking a look at the other two leagues that will join the Trappers and the other NOJHL representative at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup you’ll find it remains a tight race for first overall in the OJHL with just over two weeks remaining in their regular season.

Only four points separate the top five OJHL clubs in the standings with the Trenton Golden Hawks and Georgetown Raiders sharing first place with 72 points apiece.

Just one point behind are the Buffalo Jr. Sabres while the St. Michael’s Buzzers and North York Rangers are close by with both of those teams sitting with 68 points.

Trenton does boast the best winning percentage in the league at .750 followed by Buffalo (.724), Georgetown (.720), St. Michael’s (.694) and North York. (.680)

Over in the SIJHL the Minnesota Wilderness just clinched their third straight regular season crown over the weekend.

They currently remain the No. 2 ranked club in the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League.

Minnesota had been nothing short of red-hot having not lost in regulation time since way back on Oct. 24.

In the 27-game span since that setback the club has reeled off 53 of a possible 54 total points having gone 26-0-0-1  and 40-3-0-1 overall.

After that it is tightly contest among the next four SIJHL squads in the standings.

Only five points divide second from fifth with last season’s league finalist, the Fort Frances Lakers, holding down second spot.

The Lakers are two points ahead of the third place Dryden Ice Dogs while the No. 4 Thunder Bay North Stars sit with 51 points followed by the Minnesota Iron Rangers in fifth with 50 points on the campaign.

You can learn more on the event by visiting the official DHC website at

CJHL TOP 20: The weekly Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings released Monday saw the front-runners in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League maintaining their place in the overall listings.

Back for another week as the No. 15 ranked club in the CJHL are the Soo Thunderbirds while right behind once again at No. 16 are the North Bay Trappers.

The CJHL formulates the selections each week in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

Sault Ste. Marie presently leads the NOJHL with 58 points on a 26-8-3-3 overall record.

North Bay sits in second spot, four points in arrears of the T-Birds at 24-6-3-3 with the Trappers holding four games in hand on their NOJHL rivals.

No change once again in the CJHL top three with the Brooks Bandits (AJHL), Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL) and Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) rated first, second and third respectively.

All three clubs lead their leagues as Brooks holds a 45-2-3 record while the Wilderness are 40-3-0-1 and the Capitals are at 35-7-2.

Of note the SIJHL-leading Wilderness are unbeaten in regulation since Oct. 24, having gone 25-0-0-1 in that span while Summerside, who will host the 2013 Royal Bank Cup, just had a 15-game winning streak dashed this past Friday in a defeat against Woodstock.

The following are the CJHL Top 20 teams, as of Feb. 4, 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. (4) Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
5. (5) Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
6. (10) Dauphin Kings (MJHL)
7. (12) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
8. (11) Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)
9. (7) Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
10. (6) Humboldt Broncos (SJHL)
11. (9) Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL)
12. (14) Winnipeg Blues (MJHL)
13. (8) Truro Bearcats (MHL)
14. (13) Georgetown Raiders (OJHL)    
15. (15) Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
16. (16) North Bay Trappers (NOJHL)

17. (HM) Melville Millionaires (SJHL)  
18. (NR) Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL)
19. (18) Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)
20. (20) College Francais de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ)
Honourable Mention: Surrey Eagles (BCHL), OCN Blizzard (MJHL), North York Rangers (OJHL), Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) and Amherst Ramblers (MHL).
Learn more on the CJHL at


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – Looking to put an end to a three-game losing streak, Abitibi heads out on the road this weekend with stops in Elliot Lake, Blind River and Sault Ste. Marie, Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. … The Eskimos are tied for fifth in the NOJHL standings with Blind River, but do hold three games in hand. … Ryan Wildman’s 34 points continue to pace the team offensively, including 14 goals. After this weekend’s road trip the club returns home for three straight at Jus Jordan Arena. Nine of the club’s remaining 13 regular season games are on the road.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – After winning their lone contest game last week the Beavers have moved into a tie for fifth in the NOJHL standings with Abitibi. … They host the Eskimos Saturday a day after a neutral site contest vs. North Bay Friday in Espanola. … Blind River’s dynamic duo of Samuel Wilbur and Corey McEwen are fifth and sixth respectively in NOJHL scoring. Wilbur has accumulated 43 points on 16 tallies and 27 assists while McEwen has 17 markers and 25 helpers. … McEwen has also registered at least one point in 14 of his past 16 games. … Teammate Brandon Bazinet is knotted for 15th in NOJHL offensive production with 31 points. He has a modest three-game point streak on the go. (6a)

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats have won two of their past three outings. … The club is 9-7-1 when scoring first in a game so far this season, but 1-18 when their opponents get on the board first. … Elliot Lake has scored the fewest goals in the league so far this season at 106 with their 188 against being the most given up in the league. … Steve Gaul’s 28 points leads the squad. … Henry Berger has points in three straight racking up a goal and six assists in that span and now sits second in team scoring with 27 points. … Six of the 11 tallies Nicholas Tassone has notched this season have come on the power play. … Elliot Lake plays six of their final 11 games on the road.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Kirkland Lake looks to get back on the winning track as they host Sudbury Friday before heading to North Bay Sunday afternoon. … Nine games remain for the squad in the regular season, including six on the road. … Captain Connor McNally is tied for 15th in NOJHL scoring as he still leads the team offensively in both goals and points with 18 and 31 respectively. He has point in eight of his past nine contests. … 10 of Steven Babin’s 15 goals have come on the power play. Those 10 man advantage markers lead the league. … Among netminders who have played 1,000 or more minutes Chris Komma remains third in goals-against average in the NOJHL at 2.73. His three shutouts lead the league. He has also played the most minutes in the NOJHL at 1,799:39. Komma’s 16 victories are the third most overall in the NOJHL.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers remained No. 16 overall in the CJHL rankings for a second straight week. … The have two games on tap this week, including Friday’s neutral site encounter vs. Blind River Friday in Espanola. … Greg Dodds leads all NOJHL goalkeepers in wins (20), goals-against-average, (2.26) and save percentage. (.927). … Brennen Dubchak has points in 10 of his past 12 games and leads the Trappers offensively with 36 points. He sits 10th overall in the NOJHL. … Brandon Janke is 11th with 35 points. … Cole Klippenstein tops all NOJHL D-men in goals (12) and points (28 ). … North Bay is 10-0-2 when Graham Pickard picks up a point in a game.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds remain ranked 15th overall in the most recent CJHL Top 20 rankings… Adam Ritchie and Darcy Casola share the team scoring lead and they are also tied for third overall in the NOJHL. Both players have 56 points to date… Brandon Warmington, Anthony Miller and Derek Battagin are also all in the top 10 in league offensive production. Warmington, who has 10 points in his past five games, is seventh with 38 in total while Miller and Battagin are right behind with 37. … Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk is second among NOJHL netminders in both goals-against average at 2.38 and save percentage at .918. Steve Dombrowksi has won his last eight starts.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Sudbury has two games slated this week. They are at home to Elliot Lake tonight and on the road at Kirkland Lake Friday. … Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines remain first and second in league scoring with 71 and 67 points respectively. … Leroux has only been held pointless four times so far this season and leads all skaters in the league in point-per-game average at 1.97. … Haines leads all skaters in the league in goals with 31 and sits second point-per-game prowess at 1.91. … He is also third overall in power play tallies with eight. … Michael Muzyka is fourth in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 3.44. … He is 7-3 in his last 10 appearances. Netminding partner Alex Laino is coming off his first shutout of the season, a 4-0 win over Abitibi Saturday. Laino has eight wins against only one loss in his past nine appearances. He continues to lower his goal-against average and sits fifth in the league at 3.64 overall.