NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012
NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Sudbury hosts the Soo tonight to highlight week 4 action
SUDBURY — An eight-game week in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League gets underway this evening and features a highly-anticipated contest.
McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff will be the site tonight as the league-leading Sudbury Nickel Barons put their unbeaten record on the line as they host the defending NOJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Soo Thunderbirds at 7:30 p.m.
Sudbury enters the game winners of eight straight to begin the season while the T-Birds come in at 4-1-1-1 in what will be the first meeting of the season between the two sides.
From there league play will resume Friday with two tilts as North Bay welcomes Kirkland Lake to the Memorials Gardens at 7 p.m. while Elliot Lake entertains Abitibi at Centennial Arena at 7:30 p.m.
A trio of encounters are on the docket Saturday including Abitibi continuing their weekend road trip as they pay a visit to Blind River to take on the Beavers in a 7:30 p.m. start at the Community Centre.
Saturday’s other two games have the Soo in Elliot Lake and Sudbury travelling to Kirkland Lake in a pair of 7:30 p.m. face-offs.
Rounding out week 4 in the NOJHL will be two Sunday match-ups.
The Bobcats and Trappers square-off in North Bay in 2 p.m. matinee while the Eskimos wrap-up their three-game road swing in Sault Ste. Marie as they take on the Thunderbirds at Essar Centre. Puck drop in that one is set for 3 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Entering play this week Sudbury leads the NOJHL in goals scored with 47 while North Bay has allowed the fewest at 16.
The opening month of the season showed plenty of parity in the league when it came to playing either home or away.
Of the 26 games played in September the home team narrowly had an overall winning record.
Home sides produced 13 victories while losing 12 and had one draw.
CJHL TOP 20: Another impressive week for the NOJHL saw two member clubs to crack the latest Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings.
The unbeaten Sudbury Nickel Barons jumped four spots from the initial rankings to fifth overall in the listings while the North Bay Trappers moved up from Honourable Mention a week ago to 12th.
This marks the first time in just over a year that two NOJHL clubs garnered Top 20 recognition.
Back in the Oct. 3, 2011 listings the Soo Eagles were tabbed ninth while the Soo Thunderbirds came in at No. 16.
The CJHL rankings, comprised in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting, are based upon a variety of factors, which includes the league in which the teams belong to and this season’s results in regular season.
CJHL Weekly Top 20 as of Monday, Oct. 1 (Last week’s ranking in brackets)
1. (2) Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
2. (1) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
3. (15) Winnipeg Blues (MJHL)
4. (10) Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL)
5. (9) Sudbury Nickel Barons (NOJHL)
6. (13) Dryden Ice Dogs (SIJHL)
7. (17) Truro Bearcats (MHL)
8. (12) Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL)
9. (HM) OCN Blizzard (MJHL)
10. (11) Coquitlam Express (BCHL)
11. (NR) Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL)
12. (HM) North Bay Trappers (NOJHL)
13. (NR) Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)
14. (5) Newmarket Hurricanes (OJHL)
15. (20) Oakville Blades (OJHL)
16. (19) Carlton Place Canadians (CCHL)
17. (16) Saint Jerome Pantheres (LHJAAAQ)
18. (3) Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners (MHL)
19. (NR) Georgetown Raiders (OJHL)
20. (NR) Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)
Honourable Mention: Merritt Centennials (BCHL), Drayton Valley Thunder (AJHL), Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL), Granby Inouk (LHJAAAQ), Summerside Western Capitals (MHL).
The CJHL is an amalgamation of 10 Junior A hockey leagues from across Canada. More information on the CJHL can be found by clicking on the league website www.cjhlhockey.com.
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.
NOJHL THREE STARS: Less than a month into the 2012-13 NOJHL season and some familiar names are appearing with great regularity on scoresheets across the north.
The league’s leading scorer makes his second appearance of the season as the “NOJHL Three Stars of the Week” for the period ending on Sept. 30, which were announced by the selection committee.
CHRIS KOMMA – KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS: After struggling to hit the win column on a consistent basis last year in Kirkland Lake, the 2012-13 version of the team is proving to be a threat, night in and night out.
A big part of the reason for that has been the play of 20-year-old netminder Chris Komma. The native of Boise, Idaho turned aside 81 of the 84 shots he faced in a pair of games last week, leading the Gold Miners to victories over both Elliot Lake and Blind River.
Moving to Northern Ontario after suiting up with the Boulder Jr. Bison last year, Komma is among the league leaders in both goals-against average (2.15) and save percentage (.918) in the early going.
DARCY HAINES – SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS: Another league leader, right from the drop of the puck on opening night in Copper Cliff, has been Valley East native Darcy Haines. A late round OHL pick a few years back, Haines has been making amends so far this season, stretching his lead atop the scoring race with a nine-point week.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of a high-octane Sudbury offense one year ago, Haines is leading the pack this time around, recording 21 points in just eight games, including a four-point performance last Wednesday against Elliot Lake.
BRANDON JANKE – NORTH BAY TRAPPERS: One of a handful of key returnees on the Trappers roster this year, North Bay sniper Brandon Janke is developing quite the knack of scoring key goals.
Last Friday, Janke scored twice in the final 3:09 of the game, including a game-tying penalty shot tally in the last minute of play, earning the Trappers a point against Sudbury.
The very next night in Iroquois Falls, the 19-year-old Huntsville native was at it again, drilling the game-winner 31 seconds into the second overtime session as North Bay edged Abitibi 2-1.
UNDEFEATED: Looking across the Canadian Junior Hockey League landscape there are only a total of six clubs among the 10 leagues that comprise the CJHL that enter play this week being undefeated in either regulation, overtime or a shootout.
Leading that group are the NOJHL’s Sudbury Nickel Barons who presently sit unbeaten at 8-0.
Right behind them are the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Jr. Hockey League at 7-0.
Both the Manitoba Jr. Hockey League’s Winnipeg Blues and the Maritime Hockey League’s Truro Bearcats come in a 5-0 while the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Jr. Hockey League and the Dryden Ice Dogs of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League have 4-0 records to start the season.
CJHL’s Undefeated teams (As of Oct. 3/12)
TEAM LEAGUE RECORD
Sudbury Nickel Barons NOJHL 8-0
Brooks Bandits AJHL 7-0
Winnipeg Blues MJHL 5-0
Truro Bearcats MHL 5-0
Dryden Ice Dogs SIJHL 4-0
Flin Flon Bombers SJHL 4-0
ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The Eskimos hit the road for three games in three nights this weekend with stops in Elliot Lake, Blind River and North Bay. … Richard Therrien continues to pace the club offensively with seven points. …
Five other skaters on the club are tied for second in team scoring with three points apiece. … Abitibi enters the week sixth in the NOJHL standings at 1-4-0-1. … The Eskimos have scored the fewest goals of any team in the league at 12.
BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Tyler Brown and Paul Muio share the team point lead with eight each. That leaves the pair tied for eighth in league offensive production. … The Beavers are sitting tied for second in the NOJHL in goals scored with 31. Their 42 against however are the second most allowed in the league to date. … Blind River’s lone game this week is at home Saturday vs. Abitibi. … Six of the club’s next 10 games will be played on the road.
ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The first-year Bobcats go in search of their second win in franchise history as they host Abitibi Friday. The Bobcats play three of their next four at home on Centennial Arena ice. … Daniel Carter and Nicholas Tassone share the team scoring lead with five points apiece. Carter had a four-game point streak snapped in the club’s last outing, a 4-1 loss to Kirkland Lake on Sept. 28. … Slow starts have hampered the squad early on having given up 23 first period goals compared to just six tallies for. … Elliot Lake has allowed the most goals in the league overall so far this season at 44. … When scoring first in a game the Bobcats are 1-0, but 0-6 when the opposition strikes first.
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Connor McNally and Steven Babin sit one-two on the Gold Miners in offensive production to date with nine and eight points respectively. McNally is also second in the NOJHL in goals scored with eight while Babin is right behind him with seven. They both have markers in three straight outings. … The club shares second in the league for fewest goals allowed with 22. … Chris Komma sits seconds in the league in goals-against average at 2.15 and fourth in save percentage at .918.
NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – Ranked 12th in the entire CJHL, North Bay has home games Friday and Sunday vs. Kirkland Lake and Elliot Lake respectively before playing five in succession on the road. … North Bay has allowed the fewest amount of goals in the NOJHL so far at 16. … Goalkeeper Greg Dodds is a big reason for that as the 20-year-old netminder has played every game for the Trappers so far while posting a solid 5-1-1-1 record. … Dodds is third in both goals-against average at 2.16 and save percentage at .923. … Brandon Janke is riding a seven-game point streak to start the season and leads the team offensively with 12 points, including five goals. He sits tied for third in NOJHL scoring… Corbin Bean is next on the squad with 10 points. He has a modest three-game point streak on the go.
SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk continues to pace all NOJHL puck stoppers in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.22 and .941 respectively. … Adam Ritchie maintains the team point lead with 11. He is fifth in the league in offensive production. … A trio of T-Birds in Darcy Casola, Anthony Miller and Greg Sartoretto are next on the club with seven points each. … After games this week in Sudbury and Elliot Lake, Sault Ste. Marie will play nine straight at home with their next road encounter scheduled for Nov. 16 at Kirkland Lake.
SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The No. 5 CJHL-ranked Nickel Barons look for win number nine in a row as they host the Soo Thunderbirds tonight. They are only one of six teams across the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League who are still unbeaten … Averaging 5.88 goals-per-game the Nickel Barons pace the NOJHL and in goals scored with 47. … They have only allowed 22 against as well, which ties them for the second fewest allowed. … Offensively Sudbury continues to boast three of the NOJHL’s top four point producers early on. 18-year-old forward Darcy Haines leads the way with 21 points, including a league-best 11 goals. He has points in all eight games to date and has scored in all but one contest … Sebastien Leroux is second league scoring with 17 points. He too has recorded points in every game so far this season. … August Jarecki is knotted for third in the NOJHL with 12 points. Goaltenders Michael Muzyka and Alex Laino are both 4-0 to start the season. Muzyka is fourth in goals-against average at 2.42 while Laino is fifth at 2.89. …They are also second and fifth respectively in save percentage at .927 and .912. … Sudbury plays four of their next five at home.