NOJHL Notebook: Trio of teams among CJHL elite in winning percentage


Release Date: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013
NOJHL Notebook: Trio of teams among CJHL elite in winning percentage

SUDBURY – Impressive play on the ice sees a trio of Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League clubs currently sitting near the top in winning percentage across the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League.

Of those CJHL clubs that have played a minimum of eight regular season games to date the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners are tied for fifth overall in winning percentage at .889 with the Powell River Kings of the BCHL.

The Soo Thunderbirds also make the top 10 as they are presently knotted for 10th with the OJHL’s Kingston Voyageurs with a win mark of .818.

Also earning a place among the top 20 is the Espanola Rivermen who sit with a .winning percentage of .727.

The following are the top teams in CJHL winning percentage among those squads that have skated in eight or more games so far this season as of Oct. 9.
1  Fort McMurray Oil Barons  AJHL  12  12  0  0  24  1.000
2  Sherbrooke Cougars  LHJAAAQ  13  12  1  0  24  .923
3  Princeville Titan  LHJAAAQ  12  10  0  2  22  .917
4  Brooks Bandits  AJHL  10  9  1  0  18  .900
T-5  Kirkland Lake Gold Miners  NOJHL  9  8  1  0  16  .889
T-5  Powell River Kings  BCHL  9  8  1  0  16  .889
7  Yarmouth Jr. Mariners  MHL  8  7  1  0  14  .875
8  Saint-Jerome Panthers  LHJAAAQ  10  8  1  1  17  .850
9  Wellington Dukes  OJHL  12  10  2  0  20  .833
T-10  Soo Thunderbirds  NOJHL  11  9  2  0  18  .818
T-10  Kingston Voyageurs  OJHL  11  9  2  0  18  .818
T-12  Carleton Place Canadians  CCHL  16  13  3  0  26  .813
T-12  Weeks Crushers  MHL  8  6  1  1  13  .813
14  Granby Inouk  LHJAAAQ  10  8  2  0  16  .800
T-16  West Kelowna Warriors  BCHL  11  8  2  1  17  .773
T-16  Buffalo Jr. Sabres  OJHL  11  8  2  1  17  .773
T-18  Okotoks Oilers  AJHL  10  7  2  1  15  .750
T-18  Ottawa Jr. Senators  CCHL  14  10  3  1  21  .750
T-20  Espanola Rivermen  NOJHL  11  8  3  0  16  .727
T-20  Hamilton Red Wings  OJHL  11  8  3  0  16  .727

CJHL TOP 20: Being among the top CJHL clubs in winning percentage has also earned Kirkland Lake, Sault Ste. Marie and Espanola additional recognition.

All three NOJHL were mentioned in the last CJHL Top 20 rankings announced earlier this week.

The Thunderbirds were tabbed ninth overall while the Gold Miners were 12th and the Rivermen picked up honourable mention laurels for another week.

The following is the CJHL top 20, which are ranked each week in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

They are listed in order by team name the league they play in and where they were listed last week.


1.      Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (1)
2.      La Ronge Ice Wolves (SJHL) (3)
3.      Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (7)
4.      Powell River Kings (BCHL) (4)
5.      Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (9)
6.      Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (5)
7.      Les Cougars de Sherbrooke (LHJAAAQ) (2)
8.      Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (20)
9.      Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (12)
10.   Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (8)
11.   Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (15)
12.   Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (11)
13.   Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) (18)
14.   Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) (HM)
15.   West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL) (10)
16.   Penticton Vees (BCHL) (16)
17.   Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (NR)
18.   Portage Terriers (MJHL) (NR) 
19.   Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL) (14)
20.   Virden Oil Capitals (MJHL) (19)
Honourable Mention: Espanola Rivermen (NOJHL), Langley Rivermen (BCHL), Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL), Yorkton Terriers (SJHL),Titan de Princeville (LHJAAAQ)


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.

THIS WEEK: Game action in the NOJHL begins tonight as the Sudbury Nickel Barons host the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in a 7:30 p.m. start at McClelland Arena.

A trio of 7:30 p.m. tilts are on tap Friday as Abitibi travels to Espanola, Sault Ste. Marie heads to Elliot Lake and North Bay visits Kirkland Lake.

Three more contests go Saturday with the Trappers welcoming the Bobcats to West Ferris Arena at 7 p.m. while the Thunderbirds and Rivermen tangle in Espanola also at 7 p.m. and Blind River entertains Abitibi at 7:30 p.m.

A 3 p.m. matinee Sunday will then conclude weekly play as the Soo Thunderbirds take on the Abitibi Eskimos at Essar Centre.

NOJHL 3 STARS: Earning accolades as the latest NOJHL “3 Stars” of the week were Soo Thunderbirds goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk, Sudbury Nickel Barons forward Giovanni Foschia and Soo Thunderbirds forward Grant Syrette.

JOEL HORODZIEJCZYK, (G) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – In two starts the 18-year-old netminder was nearly flawless allowing only one goal helping the Thunderbirds come away victorious in both those contests as part of a three-win week for his squad.

He began by backstopping Sault Ste. Marie with a 27-save performance as his club won 6-1 on the road vs. the Sudbury Nickel Barons this past Wednesday.

The NOJHL rookie of the year in 2012-13 followed that up Sunday afternoon by posting his first shutout of the season Sunday as the T-Birds blanked visiting North Bay.

In all, the Sudbury product finished the weekend with a stingy 0.50 goals-against average along with a stellar .974 save percentage in those two appearances.

GIOVANNI FOSCHIA, (F) SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Foschia stepped up in a big way leading his side offensively Friday helping them put the brakes on a five-game winless drought.

His efforts came in a neutral site game this past Friday in Timmins as he tallied twice, including the game-winner, and added an assist helping Sudbury skate past the Abitibi Eskimos 5-3.

For the Val Caron native his three-point night matched a career-high single-game output since Sept. 26 of last season when he had a goal and a pair of helpers in a triumph over Elliot Lake.

Foschia’s performance vs. Abitibi also marked his first multiple-goal game in his time in the league.

GRANT SYRETTE, (F) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – It was a solid week for Syrette, who hails from Garden River, Ont., as the 19-year-old racked up eight points helping the Thunderbirds win three times while extending their winning streak to four overall as well as go 8-1 in their past nine outings.

He began by firing a natural hat-trick that included netting the game-winner as Sault Ste. Marie won 6-1 in Sudbury last Wednesday.

Two nights later he set-up the winner as the T-Birds topped Blind River and then completed his week Sunday by adding another marker and three more assists in a shutout victory over North Bay.

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

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.


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: Over the Christmas break the NOJHL will be sending an all-star team that will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge Dec. 27-29 in Terrebonne, Que.

There the NOJHLers will go up against similar all-star squads from the Maritime, Quebec, Central Canada and Ontario Jr. Hockey Leagues.

This marks the second time in three years the league will take part in the event.

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.


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – A three-game road swing is in store for the Eskimos this weekend as they try and put a halt on a three-game winless run as they have stops in Espanola, Blind River and Sault Ste. Marie. …  The club sits sixth in the NOJHL standings with a 3-4-0-2 record. … Ryan Wildman is averaging a point-per-game and currently leads the team offensively with nine points in as many outings. He also has a four-game point streak on the go. … Brady Clouthier has a team-high five goals and is second in overall offensive production with eight points. … Goaltender Sylvain Miron has faced more shots than any other netminder in the league at 309. Miron is second in minutes played at 486:44.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – It has been tough sledding for Blind River as of late as the club has gone winless in six having been outscored 41-11 in that span. … They’ll look to get back on track Saturday as they host Abitibi in their lone game of the week at the Community Centre. … Captain Samuel Wilbur is on a point-per-game clip to pace the Beavers offensively with 11 in 11 contests. … Wilbur is tied for the league lead in power play markers with three. … Tyson MacLeod is second on the squad with nine points followed by Tyler Shanush with eight. … Six of Blind River’s next nine games will be on the road.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats have two games this week as they host Sault Ste. Marie Friday before heading to North Bay Saturday. … Elliot Lake is in the middle of a stretch where they will play six of seven on Centennial Arena ice. … Offensively Brett Wagner continues to impress. He leads the team with 13 points, which ties him for eighth overall in the NOJHL. Wagner shares the league-lead in shorthanded tallies with two. … Aaron Carmichael is tied for fourth in the league in assists with nine while sitting second in team points with 10. … Etienne Roy has faced the fourth most shots among NOJHL netminders at 227. He has played the fifth most minutes at 393:26.

ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – Forward Brennen Dubchak continues to shine for the Rivermen in a big way. He has scored at least one goal in eight consecutive games. Dubchak has 13 tallies in that span along with five assists. He leads the NOJHL in goals with his total and is tied for the overall league lead in points with 19. … He is joined by teammate Brandon Janke who also has 19 points. Janke has 11 of those points during his last four games and is second overall in assists with 12. … Corbin Bean is the third member of the Rivermen is the top five league point producers with 16. He has points in seven straight contests and leads the league in game-winning markers with four. … Espanola continues a four-game home stand as they take on Abitibi Friday and Sault Ste. Marie Saturday. … Griffin Strain leads all NOJHL netminders in wins with six.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners were tabbed 12th in the latest CJHL top 20 rankings. … They lead the NOJHL in winning percentage at .889, which also ties them for the fifth-best mark in the CJHL at .889. … They have allowed the fewest goals in the league at 20. … They trail first place Sault Ste. Marie by two points, but hold two games in hand. … Kirkland Lake has won three straight and eight of nine to begin the year. … The club has two games this week as they are in Sudbury tonight and at home to North Bay Friday. … Steven Babin leads the club in scoring with 19 points in just nine games. That also ties him for the league lead. He is tops in assists with 16… Babin is also currently riding a nine-game point streak. … Mathieu Lecompte is tied for third in goals in the league with eight. … Defenseman Jeremy Picard-Fiset is knotted for fourth in assists with nine. … Netminder Kenny Fitzgerald is second in the league in goals-against average at 1.70 and third in save percentage at .916.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – Winners of two of their last three games North Bay takes to the ice twice this week as they visit Kirkland Lake Friday and are at home Saturday vs. Elliot Lake. … The Trappers are tied for fourth in the league standings with Elliot Lake at 10 points apiece. … Jake Staples continues to pace the squad offensively with 14 points in 13 games. … Zach Turner is tied for second with in scoring with Ryan Demyen as the duo has 12 points apiece. … Demyen and Kyle Baril top the Trappers in goals with eight each. That also ties them for third in NOJHL tallies. … Staples and Demyen share the league lead in power play markers with three. Netminder Dustin Hummel has faced the second most shots against so far this season at 307 while playing the third most minutes at 467:54.
SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Surging Sault Ste. Marie has won four consecutive games and eight of their past nine. … The Thunderbirds sit in first place in the NOJHL standings with a 9-2 record. … They came in ninth in the latest CJHL top 20 rankings this week. … They currently share the 10th best winning percentage in the entire CJHL at .818. … Their nine wins are the most of any team in the league. … The T-Birds have also scored the most goals of any NOJHL club with 54 and have allowed the second fewest with 23. … Three games are in store for squad this week as they visit Elliot Lake Friday, Espanola Saturday before returning home to face Abitibi Sunday afternoon. … The Sault is 5-0 on Essar Centre ice this season.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The Nickel Barons will look to extend their modest winning streak to two games tonight as they host Kirkland Lake at McClelland Arena in their lone game of the week. … Five of their next six games will be on home ice as they look to improve on their 3-8 overall record and move up the NOJHL standings where they are currently tied for seventh spot. … Ryan Punkari has averaged a point-per-game for Sudbury so far in the 2013-14 campaign with 11 in as many outings to pace the team offensively. He is currently on a four-game point streak. … August Jarecki is next in team scoring with nine points. … Brody Brunet, who sits third in Nickel Barons offensive numbers, has a four-game point streak of his own on the go.