NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Ritchie and Casola model of consistency for league-leading Soo Thunderbirds




Release Date: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Ritchie and Casola model of consistency for league-leading Soo Thunderbirds

SUDBURY — The consistent efforts of the Soo Thunderbirds top two scorers are a big reason why the club sits atop the standings in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Forwards Adam Ritchie and Darcy Casola, who sit first and third respectively in NOJHL scoring, are both riding impressive streaks for the red-hot T-Birds.

Casola has reeled off points in 11 consecutive contests amassing 24 total points during his impressive run while helping the Soo post a tremendous 10-0-1 record in that span.

As for Ritchie, his play of late has seen him etch his name on the game sheet in 10 successive outings accumulating 22 points during his run.

He has also notched goals in six straight matches for the T-Birds, all of which have been Sault Ste. Marie victories while netting the game-winning tally in his club’s last two games.

A number of other NOJHLers, among the league’s leading scorers, have modest point streaks on the go as well.

Corey McEwan of the Blind River Beavers is presently riding a seven-game point streak while moving into a tie for 11th in NOJHL offensive production.

He has picked up 12 points during his run.

Meanwhile a pair of North Bay Trappers in forward Brennen Dubchak and defenceman Cole Klippenstein have picked up points in five straight contests.
For Klippenstein his progress has allowed the 20-year-old blueliner to move into the league-lead in scoring among defenceman.

He now has 16 total points in 18 games this season with the Trappers posting a 9-2-1 record in games he registers at least one point.

WEEK 9: A total of five games are on the league slate this week with action getting underway tonight at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff as the slumping Sudbury Nickel Barons look to get back on track as they host the North Bay Trappers at 7:30 p.m.

A pair of tilts goes Friday including the Soo Thunderbirds wrapping up a nine-game home stand as they welcome the Blind River Beavers to Essar Centre in a 7:30 p.m. start.

The other contest features Kirkland Lake at home to Elliot Lake in a 7:30 p.m. face-off at The Joe.

Saturday’s lone encounter will be played in Iroquois Falls as the Abitibi Eskimos entertain Elliot Lake at 7:30 p.m. at Jus Jordan Arena.

The Eskimos then help wrap-up week 9 in the NOJHL as they pay a visit to the Memorial Gardens in North Bay in a 5 p.m. start on Remembrance Day.

CJHL PROSPECTS: Defenceman Fraser Turner of the Soo Thunderbirds and forward Tait Seguin of the North Bay Trappers will both suit up for Team East roster that will compete in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Prospects games this weekend in Nova Scotia.

They are among 20 players named to the East side that will compete vs. a squad from the CJHL’s five western leagues in a two-game, total goal series for the Presidents Cup Nov. 10-11 in Digby and Yarmouth, N.S.

Game No. 1 goes Saturday in Digby at 7 p.m. AT while the finale will be staged Sunday at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth at 2 p.m. AT.

The 17-year-old Turner hails from Pontypool, Ont., and recently returned from attending Canada East selection camp. He has scored one goal and added three assists in 11 games so far this season for the defending NOJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Thunderbirds

Now in his second season with the Soo, Turner will be skating in his second consecutive Prospects event having competed as one of two NOJHL participants at last year’s games played in Langley, B.C.

As for Seguin, 17, he is in his rookie season for the Trappers where he has picked up 11 points, including eight goals, in 17 games so far this season. The Astorville, Ont., products is tied for fourth on the club in tallies.

The Prospects Games is being held in conjunction with the 2012 World Junior A Challenge. It was created to showcase the top NHL draft eligible players in the CJHL.

Player selection was a joint initiative of the CJHL and NHL Central Scouting.

The following are the CJHL Prospect Games rosters

Team East Roster:

Team West Roster:

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 will feature 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.


BRENNEN DUBCHAK – NORTH BAY TRAPPERS: The second repeat recipient of the 2012-13 season to date, North Bay forward Brennan Dubchak made his presence felt in each and every shift in a three-game road swing through Elliot Lake, Blind River and Sault Ste. Marie.

In his first year with the Trappers, the 19-year-old native of Kenora added another five points to his season total, also garnering recognition as one of the game’s three stars in a pair of outings last week. With 19 points in 18 games, Dubchak trails only Brandon Janke in team scoring, cracking the league top 10 alongside teammate Samuel Blanchet.

MYKAULEY MELANSON – BLIND RIVER BEAVERS: The Blind River Beavers are showing an increased competitiveness of late, in no small part due to the early October acquisition of forward Myckauly Melanson. Despite playing in only half as many games as the bulk of his teammates, the Montreal native has vaulted into fifth in team scoring.

With 12 points in just eight games, the former member of the Cornwall Colts has wasted little time making his presence felt. Since his arrival, the Beavers have posted a record of 2-5-1, but have lost only one game by more than two goals.

PETER POULIN-ROY – ABITIBI ESKIMOS: Yet another astute early season pick-up, Sudbury native Peter Poulin-Roy has settled in nicely on the top line with the Eskies. The smooth-skating forward, who saw action last year in a handful of games with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL, added another four points to his ledger last week.

With 14 points in 10 games, he trails only captain Richard Therrien in team scoring, picking up a pair of goals while playing opposite a number of very familiar faces in an 8-5 win over the Sudbury Nickel Barons.

CJHL TOP 20: The latest Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings see the Soo Thunderbirds moving into the Top 10 at No. 9 overall while the North Bay Trappers garnered Honourable Mention laurels.

Sitting in first place in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League standings the Thunderbirds remain one of the hottest clubs across the 128-team CJHL having won six in succession while going 10-0-1 in their past 11 outings.

North Bay, who sit one point behind the Soo in the NOJHL with a 12-2-2-2 overall record, have posted a 6-1-1-1 record in their last nine games.

The CJHL Top 20 (As of Nov. 4)
1. Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
2. Truro Bearcats (MHL)
3. Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL)
4. Melville Millionaires (SJHL)
5. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
6. Penticton Vees (BCHL)
7. Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL)
8. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)
9. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
10. Winnipeg Blues (MJHL)
11. OCN Blizzard (MJHL)
12. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL)
13. Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
14. Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
15. Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL)
16. Newmarket Hurricanes (OJHL)
17. Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL)
18. Summerside Western Capitals (MHL)
19. Saint Jerome Pantheres (LHJAAAQ)
20. Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)

Honourable Mention: North Bay Trappers (NOJHL), Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL), Swan Valley Stampeders (MJHL), Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) and the Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL).


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – A two-game week sees the Eskimos at home Saturday to Elliot Lake before venturing to North Bay on Sunday … The club sits sixth in the NOJHL standings with a 5-10-0-1 overall record.  … Richard Therrien leads all skaters in the NOJHL in goals with 16, including five multiple-tally contests. He is fifth in total points in the league with 26. … The club has scored the second fewest goals in the league at 56, but have scored 31 times in their last six games. … After this week the club will be the home side in three straight including a Dec. 1game in Cochrane.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Blind River begins a run of five out of six on the road Friday as they visit Sault Ste. Marie … Blind River has allowed the second most goals against in the league to date at 81. … Corey McEwen is tied for 11th in league scoring with 18 points. He has points in seven straight outings and 11 of his past 13… Tyler Brown is second on the offensively with 17 points in as many games… Samuel Wilbur had a seven-game point snapped in the club’s last outing, a 5-4 overtime setback vs. North Bay.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats commence a run of three straight on the road as they head to Kirkland Lake and Abitibi this weekend … The Bobcats remain seventh in the NOJHL standings with a 3-12 record. … Nicholas Tassone leads Elliot Lake in offensive production with 10 points overall on five goals and as many assists. … Elliot Lake has allowed the most goals in the league overall so far this season at 84. They have also notched the fewest markers in the NOJHL at 37 … When scoring first in a game the Bobcats are 2-0, but 1-12 when the opposition strikes first.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Having gone 5-1 in their past six games the Gold Miners look to continue their winning ways as they host Elliot Lake Friday in their only game of the week. … Connor McNally continues to lead the team in scoring with 17 points in as many outings. That ties him for 13th in the NOJHL… Royce King and Jordan Briand are next on the club with 15 points apiece. … Chris Komma is third in NOJHL goals-against average at .2.54 and in save percentage at .909 while playing the second most minutes overall at 944. … He has also registered the second most wins in the league to date with 10. … The Miners play four of their next five at home.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – A two-game week sees the Trappers in Sudbury tonight and at home Sunday vs. Abitibi. … North Bay’s recent success earned them Honourable Mention in the latest CJHL rankings. … The Trappers have allowed the second fewest goals in the NOJHL this season at 47. … Goalkeeper Greg Dodds is second in goals-against average in the league at 2.38. He leads all NOJHL puckstoppers in save percentage at .921. … Brandon Janke leads the team offensively with 23 points in 18 games. .… Brennen Dubchak and Cole Klippenstein both have five-game point streaks on the go. Klippenstein also leads all NOJHL defencemen in points with 16. … Samuel Blanchet had an 11-game point streak snapped Sunday vs. the Soo. … North Bay is 6-0-1 when forward Graham Pickard registers at least one point in a game. … Tait Seguin with play in the CJHL Prospects Games in Nova Scotia Nov. 10-11.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games picking up 21 of a possible 22 points as they remain in top spot in the NOJHL standings. … The Soo’s success saw them move to ninth in the latest CJHL Top 20 rankings. … The T-Birds wrap-up a nine-game home stand this week after having gone 7-0-1 in the first eight contests. Their next road outing is Nov. 16 at Kirkland Lake. …Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk continues to pace all NOJHL puck stoppers in goals-against average at 2.07. He is second in save percentage at .915… Another first-year netminder in Steven Dombrowski has won his last five starts and sits fourth in GAA at 3.04. … Adam Ritchie leads all skaters offensively in the NOJHL with 33 points. Darcy Casola sits third overall with 30. Greg Sartoretto and Derek Battagin are also among the top 10 NOJHL scorers with 22 and 21 points respectively to sit seventh and eighth overall. … Fraser Turner will compete in his second straight CJHL Prospects Games. This edition goes Saturday and Sunday in Nova Scotia.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The Nickel Barons are 1-8 in their past nine games being outscored 50-26 in that span after starting the season 8-0 and outscoring their opponents 45-22. … Sudbury will look to get back on track tonight as they host North Bay. …18-year-old forward Darcy Haines is second in the league in points with 31. … Sebastien Leroux is fourth in league scoring with 27 points. … Leroux has only been held of the score sheet once in 16 games so far this season… Michael Muzyka sits fifth in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 3.67. … Sudbury plays three of their next four at home as well as six of nine.