NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013
NOJHL NOTEBOOK: Sudbury sports second highest active winning streak in CJHL
SUDBURY — No team is hotter in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League at the moment than the Sudbury Nickel Barons.
Winners of eight consecutive games for a second time this season Sudbury’s run of victories also has them among the current surging clubs in the entire 128-team Canadian Jr. Hockey League.
Only the 2013 Royal Bank Cup host Summerside Western Capitals have a better active streak on the go and they have won nine straight contests in Maritime Hockey League play.
Both the Nickel Barons and Capitals will be in action tonight looking to extend their string of victories.
Looking at the rest of the present win streak leaders in the other leagues that comprise the CJHL, you’ll find the both the Alberta Jr. Hockey League’s Canmore Eagles and the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League both surging as those squads have won seven straight games.
Winners of six in succession are the Brockville Braves (CCHL) and the Loups la Tuque. (LHJAAAQ)
Other notable impressive runs at the moment feature the Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) having registered points in 10 consecutive match-ups while the Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL) have gone 19-0-1 in their last 20 outings and accumulated 39 of a possible 40 points in the span.
TEAM LEAGUE WIN STREAK
Summerside Western Capitals MHL 9
Sudbury Nickel Barons NOJHL 8
Camore Eagles AJHL 7
Kingston Voyageurs OJHL 7
Brockville Braves CCHL 6
Loups la Tuque LHJAAAQ 6
Victoria Grizzlies BCHL 4
Nanaimo Clippers BCHL 4
Humboldt Broncos SJHL 3 (9-0-1 in past 10)
Portage Terriers MJHL 2
Minnesota Wilderness SIJHL 2 (19-0-1 in past 20)
BUSY WEEK: A total of eight games are scheduled in the NOJHL this week with action slated to get underway tonight as Sudbury goes in search of win No. 9 in a row as they welcome the Blind River Beavers to McClelland Arena in a 7:30 p.m. start.
This will be the eighth and final regular season meeting between the two sides with the Nickel Barons having already won six of the first seven meetings.
Two tilts are on the docket Friday with Abitibi travelling to Kirkland Lake while Elliot Lake hosts North Bay in a pair of 7:30 p.m. starts.
After their first five get togethers the Gold Miners lead the season series after winning four of them.
The same goes for the Trappers vs. the Bobcats as North Bay skated away victorious in four of the five previous encounters.
Three more contests go Saturday night as Elliot Lake heads to Blind River, Kirkland Lake and Abitibi finish off a home-and-home followed by another first place showdown between Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay at Essar Centre.
The Bobcats and Beavers have seen each side both win twice in regulation in the season set with Elliot Lake taking the other game they have played in overtime.
Fresh off a 7-3 victory over the Trappers in North Bay Sunday the T-Birds will look to build on that in what will be their final regular season meeting. The Soo has won three of the first seven, lost a pair while two ended in ties.
The busy week in the NOJHL concludes Sunday with North Bay finishing up a three-game road swing at Blind River in a 2 p.m. matinee while the Thunderbirds are at home to the Bobcats at 7 p.m.
The Trappers are 3-0-1 vs. the Beavers to date with two of those contests requiring OT before things were settled.
MAKE-UP DATES: Both of the NOJHL contests cancelled last Friday due to inclement weather and road closures has seen its make-up dates finalized.
The Kirkland Lake – Sudbury match-up that was postponed will now be played on Saturday, Jan. 26 in Kirkland Lake with game action getting underway at 7:30 p.m. at “The Joe.”
Meanwhile the other cancelled game, which was to have featured the Abitibi Eskimos taking on the Soo Thunderbirds in a neutral site affair in Timmins will now be played on Friday, Feb. 1 back in Timmins. Game time remains 7:30 p.m.
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. Joining the Trappers will be the NOJHL champion or finalist along with the title holders from the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Junior Hockey League.
Pacing the SIJHL is the Minnesota Wilderness who sit in first place at 31-3-1 and are the No. 2 ranked club in the Canadian Jr. Hockey League. They have are an impressive 19-0-1 in their past 20 games.
With a .762 winning percentage and a league-best 64 points the Trenton Golden Hawks continue to lead the OJHL.
They are followed closely by the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, Georgetown Raiders and Toronto Lakeshore Patriots who sit with 62, 61 and 60 points respectively.
NOJHL THREE STARS: Adam Ritchie is back on track and that could spell bad news for the rest of the NOJHL.
The Sudbury native who plays for the Soo Thunderbirds walked away with top honours in this latest edition of the NOJHL Three Stars of the Week for the period ending Jan. 13.
ADAM RITCHIE – SOO THUNDERBIRDS: After recording 32 points in 16 games this fall, Ritchie averaged less than a point per game heading into the Christmas break. Just two games into 2013, the 6’1” forward has turned that around in a hurry.
Ritchie picked up seven points in a pair of games last week, including a huge six-point outing in a first place showdown with the North Bay Trappers.
While he might have slid off the pace in the race for the league scoring title, his team hasn’t backed off, jumping back into first place with a pair of wins last week.
SEBASTIEN LEROUX – SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS: To his credit, Sudbury captain Sebastien Leroux has been amazingly consistent.
The 20-year-old native of Chelmsford has been held off the scoresheet only three times over the span of the 31 games in which he has appeared.
Picking up another pair of points in both of the Barons victories last week, Leroux increased his season total to 66 points on the year, which is good for a four-point lead over teammate Darcy Haines.
His total this year also give him one less point than he accumulated in his first two seasons in the NOJHL combined.
COLE KLIPPENSTEIN – NORTH BAY TRAPPERS: It was a week to forget for the North Bay crew, though it might be hard to fault defenseman Cole Klippenstein.
The native of Franklin. Tenn., scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season in a 7-3 loss to Sault Ste. Marie, giving the 20 year-old blueliner 25 points in 31 games to lead all NOJHL defencemen.
The Trappers acquired Klippenstein from the Assiniboia Southern Rebels of the Prairie Junior Hockey League in Saskatchewan, just before the start of the current campaign.
He played part of his minor hockey career in Nashville under the tutelage of former NHLer and North Bay resident Darren Turcotte.
CJHL TOP 20: The latest Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings sees the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League well represented with a pair of clubs earning a place in the Top 20 rankings while a third garnered Honourable Mention laurels in the listings, which are tabulated each week in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.
Coming in at No. 16 in the latest rankings are the NOJHL-leading Soo Thunderbirds who pace the league standings with 48 points on a 21-5-3-3 overall record.
Close behind and tabbed in 18th position is the second place North Bay Trappers who sit two points in arrears of the Thunderbirds and currently boast a 20-5-3-3 mark.
Meanwhile the hottest club in the NOJHL, by virtue of an eight-game winning streak, the Sudbury Nickel Barons, was also recognized as they were one of five clubs to earn Honourable Mention status. They sit third in the NOJHL standings at 21-11 just six points shy of Sault Ste. Marie and four behind North Bay.
Continuing as the top ranked team in the CJHL once again this week is the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Jr. Hockey League. Despite losing their past two games the Bandits still possess the best record in both the AJHL and CJHL at 37-2-2.
Also back at No. 2 this week is the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League who are a stellar 31-3-0-1 on the campaign and 19-0-1 in their past 20.
Rounding out the top three is the Maritime Hockey League’s Summerside Western Capitals. The 2013 Royal Bank Cup host Capitals are 9-1 in their past 10 and sit with the best record and winning percentage in the MHL at 28-6-2-0 and .806 respectively.
The following are the CJHL Top 20 as of Jan. 14 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) Summerside Western Capitals (MHL)
4. (6) Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)
5. (4) Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
6. (9) Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
7. (10) Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL)
8. (8) Dauphin Kings (MJHL)
9. (3) Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
10. (7) Truro Bearcats (MHL)
11. (13) Humboldt Broncos (SJHL)
12. (15) Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
13. (NR) Surrey Eagles (BCHL)
14. (12) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
15. (11) OCN Blizzard (MJHL)
16. (16) Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
17. (HM) Winnipeg Blues (MJHL)
18. (14) North Bay Trappers (NOJHL)
19. (18) Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)
20. (20) College Francais de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ)
Honourable Mention: Sudbury Nickel Barons (NOJHL), Melville Millionaires (SJHL), Georgetown Raiders (OJHL), Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL) and Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL).
ABITIBI ESKIMOS – After having their neutral site contest vs. the Soo Thunderbirds postponed due to weather last week the Eskimos will see their first game action since Jan. 5 when they visit Kirkland Lake Friday. … With the earlier deal of team captain 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 registered on the score sheet of seven of his past 10 outings.
BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Blind River will look to get back on track tonight in Sudbury after dropping of their games last week. … The club is 8-19-2-4 overall and remain one point behind Abitibi for fifth in the league standings. … Teammates Samuel Wilbur and Corey McEwen share the club scoring lead and are also tied for fifth overall in NOJHL offensive production with 35 points apiece. … Wilbur and Tyson MacLeod pace the squad in goals with 14 apiece while McEwen tops the club in assists with 23.
ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats will look to extend a modest winning streak to two Friday as they entertain North Bay Friday at Centennial Arena. … The club is an impressive 7-2-1 when scoring first in a game so far this season. They are however a mere 1-18 when their opposition gets on the board first. … Elliot Lake has scored the fewest goals in the league so far this season at 79 with their 147 against being the second most given up in the league. … Steve Gaul leads the Bobcats offensively with 21 points. … Henry Berger is close behind with 20 followed by Brad Holman at 19. … Six of the 10 goals Nicholas Tassone has scored this season have come on the power play.
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners remain winless so far in 2013 having dropped their first four games in the New Year. … They do however remain firmly in fourth place in the league standings at 16-15-2-1. … Captain Connor McNally leads the team offensively in goals with 17 and points at 27. … Jordan Briand is right behind with 25 points. …Nine of Steven Babin’s 14 goals have come on the power play which is the most in the league. … Among netminders who have played 1,000 or more minutes Chris Komma sits third in goals-against average in the NOJHL at 2.85. His three shutouts lead the league. He has also played the most minutes in the NOJHL at 1,559:39.
NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers dropped both games they played last week to slip back into second in the NOJHL standings heading into a three-game road swing this weekend. … They sit two points behind league-leading Sault Ste. Marie. … Despite the two defeats last week the club stayed in the CJHL Top 20 rankings being tabbed 18th overall. … North Bay has scored the second most goals in the NOJHL this season at 139 while allowing the second fewest against at 81. … Goalie Greg Dodds leads the league the NOJHL in wins with 16. He is second in goals-against average in the league at 2.32 and first in save percentage at .925. … Brandon Janke sits eighth in league scoring while leading the Trappers with 32 points. … Brennen Dubchak (13g-18a-31pts) and Trevor Hunt (12g-17a-29pts) are second and third on the squad and rank in the top 20. … Cole Klippenstein leads all NOJHL D-men in goals and points with 12 and 25 respectively. … North Bay is 10-0-2 when Graham Pickard picks up at least one point in a game.
SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The No. 16 CJHL ranked Thunderbirds moved back into top spot in the NOJHL standings after an impressive road win at North Bay Sunday, which included a big six-point game by team leading point producer Adam Ritchie. … Along with Ritchie’s 48 points, which leaves him third overall among active skaters, the T-Birds continue to have four players among the top 10 in NOJHL scoring. Darcy Casola (20g-26a-46pts) sits fourth, Greg Sartoretto (12g-22a-34pts) is seventh while Derek Battagin (9g-21a-30pts) is knotted for 10th. … Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk leads all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.29 and sits second in save percentage at .920. … 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. He has not played since Nov. 17. The club has two straight games at home before six in a row on the road.
SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Sporting the second-best active winning streak in the entire 128-team CJHL, Sudbury goes after win No. 9 in succession tonight when they host Blind River. … They earned Honourable Mention in the CJHL rankings this week. … Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines remain first and second in league scoring with 66 and 62 points respectively. … Leroux has only been held pointless three times so far this season. He has an eight-game point streak on the go. … Haines leads all skaters in the league in goals with 29. … He too has an eight-game point streak and sits second in power play tallies with eight. … Michael Muzyka is fourth in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 3.18. … He is 6-2 in his last seven appearances. Netminding partner Alex Laino is 5-0 in as many starts and sits fifth in GAA at 3.84. … The Nickel Barons will play three of their next four contests on home ice at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff.