NOJHL NOTEBOOK: T-Birds rookie Horodziejczyk impressive early in Jr. A career



Release Date: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

NOJHL NOTEBOOK: T-Birds rookie Horodziejczyk impressive early in Jr. A career 

SUDBURY — With big pads to fill Joel Horodziejczyk is off to an impressive start for the Soo Thunderbirds.

The T-Birds rookie netminder is one of two goalies new to the club this season looking to follow up on the success of John Kleinhans who backstopped Sault Ste. Marie to Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and Dudley-Hewitt Cup championships last season as well  as top goaltender and most valuable player accolades at the Royal Bank Cup.

Five games into his Jr. A career the 17-year-old Horodziejczyk has yet to taste defeat posting an unblemished 5-0 record.

He tops tops all NOJHL netminders in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.56 and .390 respectively.

Horodziejczyk’s numbers stack up right across the Canadian Junior Hockey League posting the fourth best average among all the squads that comprise Jr. A hockey in the country.

His unbeaten and untied record also leaves tied for fourth nationally in the most victories department.

CJHL goals-against average leaders. (As of Oct. 10)
Goaltender              Team              League Record AVG.

Shayne Campbell     Truro               MHL      5-0        0.99
Tyler Briggs              West Kelowna BCHL   4-3         1.38
Kale Thomson          Yorkton           SJHL      3-1        1.43
Joel Horodziejczyk Soo                 NOJHL 5-0         1.56
Daniel Mannella        Georgetown    OJHL     5-2-1     1.72
Devin McDonald       Camrose         AJHL      3-1-1     1.85  

CJHL unbeaten/untied win leaders
Goaltender  Team    League Record  

Chad Katunar  Penticton   BCHL  8-0
Michael Fredrick Brooks    AJHL  8-0
Joseph Pianta  Toronto Lakeshore OJHL  6-0
Joel Horodziejczyk Soo    NOJHL  5-0
Devin Buffalo  Flin Flon   SJHL  5-0
Justin McDonald  OCN    MJHL  5-0
Shayne Campbell  Truro    MHL  5-0

WEEK 5: An eight-game week in the NOJHL kicks off this evening with first place implications as Sudbury hosts the North Bay Trappers in a 7:30 p.m. start at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff.

The Trappers enter the contest trailing the Nickel Barons by two points in the league standings with Sudbury and the Soo Thunderbirds sitting at 16 points apiece with North Bay at 14.

A trio of 7:30 p.m. tilts go Friday with Kirkland Lake hosting Abitibi, Blind River heading to Sault Ste. Marie to meet the Thunderbirds at John Rhodes while North Bay pays a visit to Elliot Lake.

Saturday’s action features Elliot Lake at the Soo, who return to Essar Centre, the Gold Miners on the road to the Eskimos and the Trappers travelling to Blind River.

Weekly action concludes Sunday with another key match-up as the T-Birds welcoming North Bay to Essar Centre for a 3 p.m. matinee.

NOJHL THREE STARS: Sault Ste. Marie and Elliot Lake were among a handful of teams that chalked up key victories in league play last week. It’s no surprise that players from both the Thunderbirds and Bobcats are among those featured in the latest presentation of the NOJHL Three Stars of the Week.

JOSH BORGEN – SOO THUNDERBIRDS: It didn’t take long for newcomer Josh Borgen to make an impression in the NOJHL.

In his first two games with the Thunderbirds last week, the 19 year old native of l’Anse, Mich., racked up seven points, helping lead the Soo to wins over Elliot Lake and Abitibi.

With the team battling for first place in the NOJHL, the defending league champions from Sault Ste. Marie are looking to add even more offensive balance to a lineup that features a solid 1-2 punch in Darcy Casola and Adam Ritchie. Based on the early returns, Borgen fits the bill quite nicely.

ZACH INNES – ABITIBI ESKIMOS: The only non-rookie in the “Stars of the Week”, Zach Innes celebrated his birthday in style.

Turning 19 yesterday, the Moosonee native enjoyed a five-point week as the Eskies salvaged one win of the western three-game road swing.

Currently teamed with linemates Richard Therrien and Peter Poulin-Roy, Innes sits second in Abitibi scoring at the moment, registering eight points in his first nine games as the Eskimos continue to hunt for a winning formula with the winter fast approaching.

DUSTIN CORDEIRO – ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS: After getting their feet wet with NOJHL action in early September, the Elliot Lake Bobcats are starting to settle in nicely, picking up victories over North Bay and Blind River last week.

Speedy forward Dustin Cordeiro hit the scoresheet in all three games, finishing the week with a pair of goals and an equal number of assists.

Having turned 17 in the spring, the Kitchener native is one of a handful of impressive young building blocks that Ryan Leonard hopes will pay dividends in the second half of the 2012-13 season.

CJHL TOP 20: The latest Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings see two Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League clubs on the list.

Maintaining their place in the top 10 are the Sudbury Nickel Barons who were slotted in the No. 8 slot this week.

Meanwhile the defending NOJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Soo Thunderbirds, who are currently tied for top spot in the league standings with Sudbury at 16 points apiece, garnered honourable mention laurels.

The CJHL Top 20 is formulated in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting and is based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the teams belong to as well as regular season results.

Back at No. 1 for a second consecutive week are the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League followed by the defending Royal Bank Cup champion Penticton Vees of the BCHL in second and the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers in third.

The following are the CJHL Top 20 as of Oct. 8, 2012, with the league they are members of listed in brackets.

1. Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
2. Penticton Vees (BCHL)
3. Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL)
4. Truro Bearcats (MHL)
5. Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL)
6. OCN Blizzard (MJHL)
7. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
8. Sudbury Nickel Barons (NOJHL)
9. Winnipeg Blues (MJHL)
10. Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL)
11. Coquitlam Express (BCHL)
12. Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)
13. Oakville Blades (OJHL)
14. St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL)
15. Dryden Ice Dogs (SIJHL)
16. Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners (MHL)
17. Saint Jerome Pantheres (LHJAAAQ)
18. Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL)
19. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL)
20. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)

Honourable Mention: Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL), Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL), Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL), Portage Terriers (MJHL), 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

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.


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The Eskimos will look to use the advantage of home ice to make a jump in the NOJHL standings in the next month or so as they are the home team in nine of their next 12 outings… Riding a five-game point streak Richard Therrien has maintained his team scoring lead. 12 of his team-high 13 points have come during his streak as he has moved into sixth overall in league offensive production. … Therrien’s nine tallies are the second most in the NOJHL. … Zach Innes who has a modest two-game point streak on the go in next on the squad with eight points.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – A tough test for the Beavers this week as they try and snap a mini two-game winning streak with games vs. Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay. … Paul Muio is averaging a point-per-game so far this season with nine in as many outings and holds the club scoring lead. His totals have him tied for 10th in league scoring … 10 games into the season Blind River sports a 2-7-1 record. …Nine of the squad’s next 13 games will be contested on the road.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The first-year Bobcats have won two of their last three games and have moved into fifth spot in the NOJHL standings … Daniel Carter, 20-year-old forward from Burlington, Ont., holds the team scoring lead with eight points. … Dustin Cordeiro has a three-game point streak on the go. … Elliot Lake has allowed the most goals in the league overall so far this season at 53. … When scoring first in a game the Bobcats are 2-0, but 1-7 when the opposition strikes first.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – A two-game home-and-home set vs. Abitibi is in store for the Gold Miners Friday and Saturday. …Under first-year head coach Marc Lafleur Kirkland Lake sits in fourth place at the 10-game mark in the standings at 5-4-1. … They are 3-1-1 in their past five games. … Connor McNally holds the team lead in offensive production with 10 points and sits ninth in league scoring. … Steven Babin shares 10th spot in the league with nine points. … Both Babin and McNally are tied for third in goals scored with eight each. The club is third in the league for fewest goals allowed at 29. … Chris Komma is third in NOJHL goals-against average at .2.36.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers will look to get back into the column tonight as they visit Sudbury. … North Bay has allowed the fewest amount of goals in the NOJHL so far at 20. … Goalkeeper Greg Dodds remains reason for the stingy defensive play. The 20-year-old netminder posting a solid 6-1-1-1 record. … Dodds sits second in both goals-against average at 2.02 and save percentage at .929. … Brandon Janke has points in all nine games the Trappers have played so far this season. His 15 points lead the team and also has him fourth in league scoring. Corbin Bean, who has five multiple-point games already this season, is next on the squad and tied for seventh in NOJHL scoring with 12 points.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds look to extend their four-game winning streak with home games against Blind River, Elliot Lake and North Bay. … Their recent success earned them Honourable Mention in the latest CJHL rankings. … The Soo is tied with Sudbury for first place with 16 points. … Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk continues to pace all NOJHL puck stoppers in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.56 and .930 respectively. … He sits fourth in the entire CJHL in GAA. … Adam Ritchie maintains the team point lead with 16. He is fifth in the league in offensive production. … Darcy Casola has moved in second spot on the squad in points with 14. He is riding a four-game goal and point streak. … The Soo plays their next eight games at home.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The No. 8 CJHL-ranked Nickel Barons look to get back in the win column tonight vs. North Bay. They have dropped two straight and starting the season 8-0. … Averaging five goals-per-game the Nickel Barons pace the NOJHL in goals scored with 50. … Sudbury features the NOJHL’s top two point producers. 18-year-old forward Darcy Haines leads the way with 24 points, including a league-best 12 goals. He has points in all 10 games to date and has scored in all but two contests. … Sebastien Leroux is second in league scoring with 20 points. He too has recorded points in all nine games he has played to date. … Goaltenders Michael Muzyka and Alex Laino are both 4-1 to start the season. Muzyka is fourth in goals-against average at 2.73 while Laino is fifth at 3.10. …They are also second and sixth respectively in save percentage at .913 and .908. … Sudbury plays their next three games at home.