NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Seven games on the NOJHL slate this week



Release Date: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013

NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Seven games on the NOJHL slate this week

SUDBURY — A busy seven-game week is in store for the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League with action commencing this evening as the surging Sudbury Nickel Barons hosting the first place North Bay Trappers in a 7:30 p.m. start at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff.

Sudbury enters the contest winners of six straight games in what will be their opening game of 2013.

North Bay is also on a roll having gone 5-0-1 in their past six to move into top spot in the NOJHL standings.

The match-up marks the sixth meeting of the season with the Trappers coming away victorious in three of the first five while picking up a point in the other pair by virtue of two double overtime setbacks.

A trio of tilts are on the slate Friday including the Blind River Beavers looking to extend a season-high winning streak to four games as they pay a visit to Elliot Lake to meet the Bobcats.

Elliot Lake has won three of the first four meetings including a 6-5 triumph in OT in their most recent get together on Dec. 8.

Also on tap Friday is a neutral site contest at the Archie Dillon Sports Complex in Timmins with the Soo Thunderbirds and Abitibi Eskimos meeting in that one.

The game is the sixth of eight the two sides will play this season. After Abitibi won in OT in the opener the T-Birds have reeled off four straight victories.

Rounding out play Friday features Kirkland Lake trying to put an end to a three-game winless drought to begin play in 2013. The sides have split their first four.

Saturday features two contests as the Thunderbirds visit the Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake in the seventh get together of the campaign between the clubs.

Sault Ste. Marie leads the season series 4-1-1.

The second Saturday match-up features Sudbury on the road at Blind River with the Nickel Barons taking five of the first six.

Wrapping up weekly play will be a first place showdown Sunday afternoon in North Bay as the league-leading Trappers take on the second place T-Birds. Each side has two victories apiece to date while two others ended in ties.

NOJHL THREE STARS: A number of players acquired by NOJHL teams this year have stepped right in, providing an immediate positive impact for their new squad.

Add Brock Crossthwaite to the list as the freshly acquired Blind River goaltender takes top spot as an abbreviated schedule kicks off a new year of “NOJHL Three Stars of the Week” for the period concluding Jan. 6.

BROCK CROSSTHWAITE – BLIND RIVER BEAVERS: Still looking to overtake Abitibi for fifth place in league standings, the Blind River Beavers are not about to stand still.

Acquiring six-foot-three-inch puck-stopper Brock Crossthwaite from the Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners of the Maritime Hockey League, the mill-town team received immediate dividends.

The 18-year-old native of Kanata, Ont., turned aside 61 of the 67 shots he faced, picking up key saves at opportune times as the Beavers posted back-to-back 4-3 wins over Kirkland Lake and Abitibi respectively.

TAIT SEGUIN – NORTH BAY TRAPPERS: The homecoming has been a positive one for Astorville native.

After spending time with both the Notre Dame Hounds (Saskatchewan) and Hill Academy (Vaughan), the 17-year-old forward returned to Northern Ontario, providing the Trappers with key offensive output.

Seguin scored three goals and added a pair of assists, increasing his season total to 22 points in 27 games as North Bay continues to show the way in league standings, currently two points ahead of the Soo Thunderbirds.

TRAVIS JONES – BLIND RIVER BEAVERS: With five games under his belt in Blind River, 20-year old forward Travis Jones has been with the Beavers only a few weeks longer than Crossthwaite.

Like his fellow newcomer, Jones has wasted little time making his presence felt, picking up five points in as many games with the team.

The Port Krocker, Ont., native is in his second stint in the NOJHL, having spent time in Kirkland Lake during the 2011-2012 campaign.

He racked up 40 points in 44 games with the Blue Devils and Gold Miners last year, enjoying a season-best four point performance against his current team.

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.

Pacing the Superior International Junior Hockey League is the Minnesota Wilderness who sit in first place at 29-3 and are the No. 2 ranked club in the Canadian Jr. Hockey League. They have also won 20 consecutive games.

The Trenton Golden Hawks lead Ontario Junior Hockey League standings with 62 points and also boast the top winning percentage at .775.

Sitting in second spot, one point in arrears of Trenton, are the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. They are also second in winning percentage at .709.

Rounding out the top three are the Georgetown Raiders who sit with 59 points.

CJHL TOP 20: The two leading teams in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League standings have both garnered recognition from the Canadian Jr. Hockey League in the opening top 20 rankings of 2013.

Both the first place North Bay Trappers and second seeded Soo Thunderbirds were recognized in the listings with the Trappers ranked 14th and the Thunderbirds close behind in 16th spot, which are compiled each week in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

North Bay currently paces the NOJHL standings with a 20-3-3-3 record and 46 points, two ahead of Sault Ste. Marie, who sit at 19-5-3-3 overall.

The Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Jr. Hockey League were once again rated as the top club in the CJHL as they enter action this week with a CJHL-best mark of 36-1-1.

Sitting in the No. 2 slot is the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League. They are riding a 20-game winning streak, which includes 17 straight victories in league play as well as a trio of triumphs over NOJHL competition over the weekend.

Rounding out the top three is the Yarmouth Jr. Mariners of the Maritime Hockey League. They are 9-1 in the past 10 and 25-5-1 overall.

The following is the CJHL Top 20 as of Jan. 7 listing their overall ranking, their listing last week, the team as well as the league they are a member of.

1.(1) Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
2.(2) Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL)
3.(5) Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
4.(4) Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
5.(11) Summerside Western Capitals (MHL)
6.(4) Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)
7.(6) Truro Bearcats (MHL)
8.(15) Dauphin Kings (MJHL)
9.(8) Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
10.(7) Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL)
11.(10) OCN Blizzard (MJHL)
12.(9) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
13.(NR) Humboldt Broncos (SJHL)
14.(HM) North Bay Trappers (NOJHL)
15.(14) Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
16.(12) Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
17.(13) Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)
18.(16) Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)
19.(17) Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL)
20.(NR) College Francais de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ)

Honourable Mention: Merritt Centennials (BCHL), Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL), Melville Millionaires (SJHL), Winnipeg Blues (MJHL), Georgetown Raiders (OJHL).

The CJHL is an amalgamation of 10 Jr. A hockey leagues from across Canada.

More information on the CJHL can be found by clicking on the league website


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – With the deal of team captain and ex-league-leading goal scorer Richard Therrien to Nepean of the Central Canada Hockey League, Ryan Wildman is now the club’s leading point producer. He has 30 points having gotten on the score sheet of seven of his past 10 outings. … Including Friday’s neutral site contest The Eskimos will play six of their next nine away from home and Jus Jordan ice.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Blind River is riding a season-high three-game winning streak with games on the road Friday at Elliot Lake and at home Saturday vs. Sudbury. … The club is 8-17-2-4 overall and are one point behind Abitibi for fifth in the league standings. … Forward Samuel Wilbur has moved to fifth in NOJHL scoring with 35 points on 14 goals and 21 assists. He has points in 10 of his last 13 outings. …Corey McEwen is knotted for seventh in league scoring with 32 points, including 11 tallies. He has points in three straight and eight of nine.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats return to NOJHL action for their first game in 2013 as they host Blind River Friday. …Elliot Lake went winless in three games vs. Superior International Jr. Hockey League competition over the weekend in the Superior-Northern Showdown. … The club 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. … After two straight at home the Bobcats hit the road for four straight.
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners go in search of their first win of the New Year after dropping three straight last weekend. … They are 16-14-2-1 overall sitting in fourth place in the NOJHL standings. … Captain Connor McNally leads the team offensively in goals with 17 and points at 26. … Jordan Briand is right behind with 25 points. …Nine of Steven Babin’s 13 goals have come on the power play which is the most in the league. … Among netminders who have played 800 or more minutes Chris Komma sits third in goals-against average in the NOJHL at 2.80. His three shutouts lead the league while having played the most minutes in the NOJHL at just under 1,500.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers are 5-0-1 in their past six moving into top spot in the NOJHL standings. … The club cracked the CJHL Top 20 rankings for the first time this season coming in at No. 14 this week. … The Trappers have scored the most goals in the NOJHL this season at 135 while allowing the fewest against at 72. … Goalie Greg Dodds leads the league the NOJHL in wins with 16. He is second in goals-against average in the league at 2.33 and sports the top save percentage at .925. … Brandon Janke is tied for seventh in league scoring while pacing the Trappers with 32 points. … Brennen Dubchak (13g-17a-30pts) and Trevor Hunt (12g-16a-28pts) are second and third on the squad and rank in the top 20 overall. … Cole Klippenstein leads all NOJHL D-men in points with 23. … North Bay is 10-0-2 when Graham Pickard picks up at least one point in a game. … The Trappers play four of their next five away from home.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The No. 16 CJHL ranked Thunderbirds play their first league game of 2013 when they meet Abitibi in a neutral site contest Friday in Timmins. … The T-Birds went 1-1 against SIJHL competition over the weekend after defeating Fort Frances 7-1 before falling 3-1 to front-running Minnesota Wilderness. …  Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk leads all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.27 and sits second in save percentage at .921. … Another first-year netminder in Steven Dombrowski has won his last seven starts and has a GAA of 2.64 along with a save mark at .912. … The Soo continues to have four players among the top 10 in NOJHL scoring. Darcy Casola (20g-26a-46pts) sits third, Adam Ritchie (18g-23a-41pts) is fourth, Greg Sartoretto (12g-22a-34pts) is sixth while Derek Battagin (9g-21a-30pts) is knotted for ninth. … Of the club’s next 12 games, only two will be played at home.
SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The hottest team in the league, Sudbury looks to extend their winning streak to seven as they host North Bay tonight. … This evening’s contest is the Nickel Barons’ first in 2013. … 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. … His 28 tallies leaves him with a one goal-per-game average. That ties him for the fourth-best GPG mark in the entire 128-team CJHL. … Michael Muzyka is fourth 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 and sits fifth in GAA at 3.95. … They play four of their next six at home.