THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL Notebook: Streaks abound in the NOJHL

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
 
NOJHL Notebook: Streaks abound in the NOJHL

SUDBURY – With each of the teams in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League set to reach or having already surpassed the 20-game mark in regular season play a number of trends are taking place in forms of consecutive game streaks.

Boasting the best winning percentage in the league the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners will look to match a franchise-best six-game winning streak tonight as they are in Sudbury to take on the Nickel Barons in a 7:30 p.m. start at McClelland Arena.

The Gold Miners set that win mark earlier this season and will attempt to duplicate the feat when they take on a Sudbury squad this is winless in two while also having gone 3-8 in their past 11 meetings with Kirkland Lake.

Also on a roll are the Elliot Lake Bobcats who are currently riding a five-game winning run of their own, which is the longest the organization has gone in their brief tenure in the NOJHL.

Starting to make a move as well are the Espanola Rivermen who have tasted victory in three consecutive outings as well as in five of their past six.

Home ice has been good to the Abitibi Eskimos as of late as they have won their last dozen contests at Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls.

The North Bay Trappers are also getting more accustomed to playing out of West Ferris Arena having won their previous two home contests.

A model of consistency under the guidance of general manager Kevin Cain the Soo Thunderbirds are an impressive 14-0 when skating at home dating back to last season.

Even having gone winless in a season-high three road games this past weekend, that marked the first time that has happened to the club since November of 2010

Meanwhile the on-ice struggles of the Blind River Beavers continue as the club has now gone nine games without a victory.

WEEK 11: There are six games on tap in the league this week commencing with this evening’s Gold Miners – Nickel Barons affair in Sudbury.

Neutral site play resumes Friday as Espanola takes on Abitibi in Timmins while Kirkland Lake is home to Elliot Lake on Friday in a pair of 7: 30 p.m. starts.

Three more 7:30 p.m. tilts are slated for Saturday with the Eskimos welcoming the Bobcats to Jus Jordan Arena, the Gold Miners hosting the Rivermen at The Joe and the Thunderbirds paying a visit to the Blind River Community Centre to take on the hometown Beavers.

Of note there has yet to be a tie game in regular season play so far in the 2013-14 campaign. The last NOJHL contest that ended in a draw was December 13 of last season when North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie skated to a 4-4 stalemate.

NOJHL THIS WEEK

Wednesday
Kirkland Lake @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m.
Friday

Elliot Lake @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m.
Espanola vs. Abitibi @Timmins 7:30 p.m.
Saturday
Elliot Lake @ Abitibi 7:30 p.m.
Espanola @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m.
Soo @ Blind River 7:30 p.m.

CJHL PROSPECTS WRAP: The NOJHL played a pivotal role to help Team East complete a two-game sweep of Team West at the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Prospects Games in Nova Scotia winning by identical 4-2 scores.

Team East, led behind the bench by Espanola Rivermen head coach Tom McCarthy, took the two-game, total-goal series 8-4 and their first President’s Cup trophy win since 2010.

Sudbury’s Ryan Punkari had three of the eight tallies for his side, including the game-winner in the opener.

Espanola’s Cray Roberge registered a trio of assists in the contests

Soo Thunderbirds netminder Joel Horodziejczyk was stellar between the pipes for the East making 36 saves to register the win in a contest that saw his side outshot 38-25 overall.

Bradley Bell of Sudbury was also named to the East roster, but did not play due to injury.

CJHL TOP 20: The latest Canadian Junior Hockey League top 20 rankings released Tuesday saw both the Soo Thunderbirds and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners maintaining a place in the listings, which are compiled weekly in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

Sault Ste. Marie was tabbed sixth overall while Kirkland Lake comes in at 13th nationally.

The Thunderbirds currently sit in top spot in the NOJHL standings with 38 points on an 18-4-0-2 record along with a .792 winning percentage.

Meanwhile, with five games in hand, the second place Gold Miners do however boast the best winning percentage in the league at .868 as their 33 points in 19 games on a 16-2-0-1 record indicates.

There was no change among the top two clubs in the CJHL this week with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons still sitting at No. 1, the Steinbach Pistons of the MJHL at No. 2.

Rounding out the top five are the Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL), who are currently riding a 15-game winning streak, in third, the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) fourth and the Powell River Kings (BCHL) in fifth.

CJHL TOP 20
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST WEEK)

1.  Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (1)
2.  Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (2)
3.  Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (4)
4.  Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (6)
5.  Powell River Kings (BCHL) (5)
6.  Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (3)
7.  Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) (9)
8.  Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (10)
9.  Melville Millionaires (SJHL) (17)
10. Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL) (16)
11. Weeks Crushers (MHL) (19)
12. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (HM)
13. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (14)
14. Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (12)
15. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (13)
16. Selkirk Steelers (MJHL) (15)
17. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (18)   
18. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL) (HM)
19. Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) (11)
20. Les Titans de Princeville (LHJAAAQ) (NR)

Honourable Mention: Merritt Centennials (BCHL), Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL), Estevan Bruins (SJHL), Les Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe (LHJAAAQ), Truro Bearcats (MHL)

ABOUT THE CJHL TOP 20

The CJHL Top 20 weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the team plays, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.

ABOUT THE CJHL

The Canadian Junior Hockey League is a national organization comprised of all 10 Junior A hockey leagues in Canada.

The CJHL represents 128 teams and over 2,500 players and has over 2,800 alumni furthering their hockey careers at the professional, major junior and college level across North America.

For latest CJHL news and features, visit www.cjhlhockey.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/cjhlhockey or @cjhlhockey.

NOJHL 3 STARS: The latest NOJHL 3 Stars of the week went to Espanola’s Corbin Bean, Kirkland Lake’s Everett Thompson and Elliot Lake’s Brett Wagner.

CORBIN BEAN, (F) ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – In three games last week, the 20-year St. Thomas, Ont., native registered eight points helping Espanola skate to a trio of victories.

He began by notching a hat-trick, including scoring his league-leading sixth game-winning goal, which came in double overtime this past Wednesday as the Rivermen won in Sudbury 6-5.

Two nights later Bean assisted on the winning tally while setting up another marker in a 4-2 home ice triumph over the visiting Nickel Barons.

The Espanola forward then capped off his week by dishing out another three helpers in a 6-2 win in Blind River Sunday afternoon.

Bean is currently tied for the league scoring lead with teammate Brandon Janke as the duo has amassed 37 points apiece.

EVERETT THOMPSON, (F) KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners forward has played a role in the club’s current five-game winning streak picking up points in each of the them, including multiple-point nights in each of Kirkland Lake’s two triumphs last week that helped his side take over the NOJHL lead in winning percentage.

Thompson, who turns 20 Friday, continued his scoring touch by notching a goal while setting up another in a 6-2 victory over North Bay last Tuesday.

Three nights later he tallied twice in a 5-2 home win over Sault Ste. Marie helping the Gold Miners pull to within three points of the Thunderbirds in the league standings while also aiding in his squad’s efforts, as they now sport a NOJHL-best .868 winning percentage.

The Walker, Mich., product now has goals in three straight to go along with his five-game point streak while moving into a tie for 12th in league scoring with 22 points overall.

BRETT WAGNER (F) ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – A model of consistency so far this season, Wagner was influential in seeing Elliot Lake extended a franchise-best win streak to five games with a pair of victories last week.

Friday night he set-up the winning goal and later added a tally of his own to help the Bobcats roll over Blind River at Centennial Arena.

Saturday he came through again by notching the game-winner in overtime as Elliot Lake completed the sweep of the home-and-home set vs. the Beavers.

The offensive efforts of the 20-year-old veteran forward, who calls Centennial, Colo., home not only allowed his team to continue their winning streak, he also prolonged his own point run to six consecutive outings.

On the season Wagner sits second in the NOJHL in goals with 18 while also topping the league in shorthanded efforts with three while leading the Bobcats and sitting seventh overall in points with 27.

ONLINE ACTION: Each and every NOJHL game this season is available online on a pay-per-view basis via FASTHockey.

Fans can view the games through the FASTHockey link on the league website at www.nojhl.com.

NOJHL SHOWCASE: The NOJHL is slated to host a league Showcase Weekend Jan. 10-11 in Espanola.

A total of four league regular season games, which will count in the NOJHL standings, will be played at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.

The goal is to further showcase the players of the NOJHL in one location to further assist NCAA, CIS, CHL and NHL scouts allowing them access to all league members clubs in one venue.

NOJHL SHOWCASE GAMES

Friday, Jan. 10
Elliot Lake vs. Espanola 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 12
Kirkland Lake vs. Blind River 1:30 p.m.
Abitibi vs. Soo 4:15 p.m.
Sudbury vs. North Bay 7:15 p.m.

CENTRAL CANADA CUP: The NOJHL has announced its staff for the Central Canada Cup Challenge showcase event Dec. 27-29 in Terrebonne, Que.

Sudbury Nickel Barons general manager Oscar Clouthier has been named director of operations for Team NOJHL while Marc Lafleur of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners will serve as head coach.

Joining Lafleur behind the bench as assistant coaches will be Jordan Smith of the Soo Thunderbirds, Trevor Blanchard of the Sudbury Nickel Barons and Zane Neily of the North Bay Trappers.

Also named to the staff as team trainers are Carla Vine of Kirkland Lake and Sudbury’s Lisa Parise.
 
The 2013 Central Canada Cup Challenge will feature six competing teams, including one from both the NOJHL and the Central Canada Hockey League along with two squads from the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League.

Each of the six participating clubs will play a five-game round robin with the length of games being two 20-minute periods.
After round robin competition the top two squads in the standings will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge championship contest on Dec. 29.

DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: The NOJHL champion will move on to represent the league at the 2014 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A Championship.

That four-team event will be hosted by the OJHL’s Wellington Dukes and will run April 29 – May 3 at the Essroc Arena in the Wellington and District Community Centre.

ROYAL BANK CUP: The DHC title holder will then move on to represent the region at the 2014 RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship with that tournament being hosted by the BCHL’s Vernon Lakers May 10-18 in Vernon, B.C.

TEAM-BY-TEAM

ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The Eskimos are playing .500 hockey so far this season at 9-9-0-2, which ties them for fifth in the overall standings. … Two games are on tap for the club as they take on Espanola at McIntyre Arena in Timmins Friday before returning home to host Elliot Lake Saturday. … Brady Clouthier’s 30 points leads the team offensively as do his 14. His four game-winning tallies tie him for the second most in the league. … Goaltender Sylvain Miron has played the second most minutes (816:28) and has faced more shots (520) than any goalkeeper in the league. … Abitibi forward Erik Robichaud, who sat second in team scoring, is currently with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL and has one goal in his first games there. Another to point producing forward in Ryan Wildman is currently out of the line-up with a thumb injury.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Sitting in eighth place the Beavers are without a head coach as Doug McEwen is no long with the club. … Blind River has struggled having gone winless in nine and also have just one win in their past 17 outings. … … Their lone game of the week goes Saturday as they host first place Sault Ste. Marie. … Tyson MacLeod’s 17 points leads the team. He also has a modest three-game point streak on the go.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – Rolling right along the Bobcats are currently riding a franchise-high five-game winning streak. … They’ll look to extend that mark Friday as they visit Kirkland Lake, who has also won five in a row heading into tonight’s game at Sudbury. … Elliot Lake sits fourth in the NOJHL standings at 11-6-0-3. … Brett Wagner’s 23 points tops the team. He has a six-game point streak on the go. … Wagner’s 18 tallies are the second most in the league to date while his trio of shorthanded markers leads all skaters. …Etienne Roy has won his past three starts in net. He sits in the top five in both minutes played (693:26) and shots against. (403)

ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – The Rivermen line of Brandon Janke, Corbin Bean and Brennen Dubchak sit one-two-three in league scoring. Janke and Bean are tied for the overall league lead with 37 points apiece while Dubchak sits third with 35 and also paces all shooters in goals with 19. Janke and Bean share third with 16 tallies apiece. … Bean also paces the NOJHL in game-winning goals with six. … Netminder Joakim Jutrashas come away victorious in his last three starts. Espanola sits third in the league standings with a solid 15-8 record. … They are the only team so far this season that has yet to lose in overtime. The Rivermen have a scored a league-high 95 goals to date. … Forward Cray Roberge had three assists in two games at the CJHL Prospects games in Nova Scotia over the weekend. … Head coach Tom McCarthy guided Team East to the President’s Cup crown behind the bench at the event.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Kirkland Lake, currently ranked 13th in the entire 128-team CJHL, sports the best winning percentage in the NOJHL at .868. They trail first place Sault Ste. Marie by five points, but hold five games in hand on the Thunderbirds. … The Gold Miners will look to match a franchise-high six-game winning streak tonight in Sudbury. … The club heads home to host Elliot Lake Friday and Espnaola Saturday at “The Joe.” … Steven Babin’s 34 points leads the team. His 34 assists are the most of any player in the league. …Mathieu Lecompte’s five power play markers are the third most in the league. He is also tied for second in shorthanded goals with two and knotted for fourth in game-winning tallies with three. … Kenny Fitzgerald sits second in goals-against average (2.05)  and fourth in save percentage. (.917) … The club welcomes back head coach and general manager Marc Lafleur to the team after he served with Canada East at the recently completed World Jr. A Challenge.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers have played the most games of any NOJHL club to date at 25. … North Bay is tied for fifth in the standings with an 8-13-0-4 record. … The squad does not play any games this week, but return to action Monday as they host Blind River at West Ferris Arena. … Ryan Demyen currently leads all NOJHL skaters in power play goals with seven. Demyen is also pacing the Trappers offensively averaging a point-per-game with 23 in as many outings. …  Dustin Hummel has played more minutes (851:23) and faced more shots (557) than any goaltender in the league. …

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds have 10 players with at least 10 points or more so far this season, which is the second best total in the NOJHL behind only Kirkland Lake’s 11. … Leading the T-Birds offensively is Gavin Burbach with 31 points, which leaves him fifth overall in the league. He is also tied for third in goals with 16. … Anthony Miller, who is next in team scoring and eighth in NOJHL, is tied for second in game-winning goals with four. … Sault Ste. Marie was ranked sixth in the latest CJHL top 20 listings. … They boast the most wins in the league with 18 and points at 38. … Netminder Joel Horodziejczyk, who helped backstop Team East to a CJHL Prospects games crown over the weekend, returns to the team for their lone game of the week, which goes Saturday in Blind River. He leads all goaltenders in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.69 and .934 respectively while winning his last eight starts in the Soo net.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Sudbury kicks off a four-game home stand tonight vs. Kirkland Lake in what will be their only outing of the week. … They sit seventh in the league standings with a 6-12-0-3 record. … August Jarecki’s 22 points lead the team. He has a modest three-game point streak on the go and has seven multi-point nights to his credit. … Ryan Punkari is back with the Nickel Barons following a solid performance at the CJHL Prospects games in Nova Scotia over the weekend. He tallied twice, including scoring the game-winner, helping Team East take the opener 4-2. He tacked on another marker in the second contest in another 4-2 triumph for his squad. … He sits second in Sudbury’s line-up with 19 points. … Khadyn Butterfly tops the team in points among defencemen with 14. … Six of Sudbury’s last seven setbacks have been by only one goal. The other was only by two.