NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Start of NOJHL league championship series just two days away



Release Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Start of NOJHL league championship series just two days away

SUDBURY — We’re just two days away from the start of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League final between the North Bay Trappers and Soo Thunderbirds, who will compete for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy.

This best-of-seven affair begins Friday at North Bay’s Memorial Gardens at 7:30 p.m. before shifting to Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie for game 2 Sunday, which now features a new start time of 7 p.m.

North Bay advanced to play for the title after knocking off the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in five hard-fought games in semifinal action.

They had a bye in the opening round by virtue of finishing first overall in the NOJHL standings during the course of the regular season.

As for the Thunderbirds, they enter the final on a roll having yet to taste defeat in the postseason to date having reeled off eight straight victories.

Add in the last two games they won in the 2012 playoffs, the T-Birds are currently riding a 10-game winning streak in NOJHL playoff competition.

Brandon Warmington presently paces the Soo offensively with 15 points in eight games, including a league-best 10 tallies.

Brennen Dubchak tops the Trappers in postseason production with six points on four goals and a pair of assists in five outings.

The Soo duo of Joel Horodziejczyk and Steven Dombrowski are a combined 8-0 in net while Greg Dodds is 4-1 for North Bay.

This marks the second consecutive year that the two sides will battle it out for NOJHL playoff supremacy.

The Thunderbirds won last season’s final in five games before also going on to capture the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central region title in Thunder Bay.

As North Bay is also the host of this year’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup tournament, then the Soo has automatically qualified to be the second NOJHL team at the event regardless of who wins the league playoff crown.

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

NOJHL Playoffs: Round 3
Final for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy
No. 1 North Bay Trappers vs. No. 2 Soo Thunderbirds
Best-of-seven series

Game 1: April 12 @ North Bay 7:30 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)
Game 2: April 14 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 3: April 16 @ North Bay 7:30 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)
Game 4: April 18 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 5*: April 21 @ North Bay 2 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)
Game 6*: April 22 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (Rhodes Arena)
Game 7*: April 24 @ North Bay 7:30 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)
*-if necessary

DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: In just under three week the 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup will be underway in North Bay.

Tickets packages for all eight games remaining 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 705-474-3770.

While we know the host North Bay Trappers and the Soo Thunderbirds will be the two teams representing the NOJHL during the five-day event, what has yet to be decided is who the other two competing sides are.

However that will be determined in short order as both the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Junior Hockey League are down to their respective championship series.

Advancing to the OJHL final are the St. Michael’s Buzzers and the Newmarket Hurricanes.

Their best-of-seven league final gets underway tonight at the venerable St. Michael’s Arena in Toronto at 7 p.m.

Newmarket needed a 3-2 double overtime triumph on the road at Kingston in game 7 of their league semifinal series to advance to the Buckland Cup final while St. Michael’s punched their ticket after disposing of North York in six games that featured a triple OT affair in game 3 and a two OT triumph in the finale.

Meanwhile in the SIJHL the Minnesota Wilderness will take on the Fort Frances Lakers in the quest for the Bill Salonen Cup for a second straight year.

The Wilderness are undoubtedly favoured in this series having not lost a game in regulation time since all the way back on Oct. 24 to the same Fort Frances side.

Minnesota spent the final 13 weeks of the season ranked as the No. 2 team across the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League. They swept the Minnesota Iron Rangers in four straight games to advance to their third consecutive SIJHL final

As for Fort Frances, they rallied in dramatic fashion in their semifinal match-up with the Dryden Ice Dogs, scoring twice in the final four minutes, including the equalizer with 15 seconds remaining before going on to win 3-2 in overtime in a series deciding seventh game.

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

Dudley-Hewitt Cup schedule

April 30
Newmarket or St. Michael’s vs. Soo 2:30 p.m.
Minnesota or Fort Frances vs. North Bay 7 p.m.     
May 1
Soo vs. Minnesota or Fort Frances 2:30 p.m.
Newmarket or St. Michael’s vs. North Bay 7 p.m.
May 2
Minnesota or Fort Frances vs. Newmarket or St. Michael’s 2:30 p.m.
North Bay vs. Soo 7 p.m.
May 3
3rd Round Robin vs. 2nd Round Robin 7 p.m.
May 4
Semifinal winner vs. 1st round robin 7 p.m.

SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup schedule

Best-of-seven Final

Minnesota Wilderness vs. Fort Frances Lakers

Bill Salonen Cup final tied 0-0

Game 1: April 12 @ Minnesota 7:30 p.m.
Game 2: April 14 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: April 17 @ Minnesota 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: April 19 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: April 20 @ Minnesota 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: April 22 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: April 24 @ Minnesota 7:30 p.m.

*-if necessary

OJHL Buckland Cup schedule

Best-of-Seven Final

St. Michael’s Buzzers vs. Newmarket Hurricanes

Buckland Cup final tied  0-0

Game 1: April 10 @ St. Michael’s 7 p.m.
Game 2: April 11 @ Newmarket 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: April 13 @ St. Michael’s 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: April 15 @ Newmarket 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: April 17 @ St. Michael’s 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: April 19 @ Newmarket 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: April 21 @ St. Michael’s 4 p.m.

*-if necessary

NOJHL 3 STARS: His offensive stats might not be particularly overwhelming, but even a single goal registered by a goaltender is noteworthy.

Greg Dodds’ empty-net marker in the semifinal series between North Bay and Kirkland Lake was enough to land him a spot on the “NOJHL Three Stars of the Week” for  the week ending April 7.

GREG DODDS – NORTH BAY TRAPPERS: North Bay head coach Tom McCarthy figured he could count on outstanding netminding from veteran Greg Dodds.

However, having the 20-year-old native of Wingham, Ont. actually score a goal in game 4 vs. the Gold Miners, well that was just an added bonus.

Starting all five games of the series between the pipes, Dodds surrendered less than two goals per game, posting a save percentage of .931 and earning first star honours on two separate occasions. T

he busy puckstopper racked up 28 wins during the regular season, appearing in 39 games for the Trappers and accumulating more than 2,200 minutes played this year.

BRANDON WARMINGTON – SOO THUNDERBIRDS: Sault Ste Marie native Brandon Warmington wasted little time setting the tone in the Thunderbirds second round series with Sudbury.

The 21-year-old forward netted a hat-trick in game one and followed up with the game-winning goal in game two, helping to pave the way to a four-game sweep of the Nickel Barons.

Returning from the Thunder Bay North Stars of the SIJHL to join the T-Birds this year, Warmington finished third in team scoring during the regular season, but has cranked it up a notch in the postseason.

Warmington tops all Soo scorers in the playoffs, recording 15 points in just eight games, including a NOJHL-high 10 markers.

CHRIS KOMMA – KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS: Goaltender Chris Komma has landed himself a spot within the NOJHL Three Stars for the second consecutive week.

The 20-year-old native of Boise, Idaho was named as one of the game’s three stars in all five of his second round encounters with the North Bay Trappers.

The 6’1” puckstopper finished the post-season with an impressive save percentage of .916, helping to keep the Gold Miners right in every game with the favoured Trappers.

Like Dodds, Komma is coming off a hectic 2012-13 campaign, appearing in a league high 41 games with Kirkland Lake and logging more than 2,500 minutes of ice-time.