NOJHL Notebook: Unbeaten Sudbury hosts Abitibi to begin week 3


Release Date: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012

NOJHL Notebook: Unbeaten Sudbury hosts Abitibi to begin week 3 

SUDBURY — McClelland Arena in Cooper Cliff will be site as Week 3 in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League begins this evening with one club looking to continue its winning ways while another searches for their initial victory of the season.

The host Sudbury Nickel Barons will look to run their season-opening winning streak to five in that contest, which features a 7:30 p.m. start, while the Abitibi Eskimos look to put an end to a 0-3 start.

Five other games make-up the NOJHL slate this week with a pair of contests going Friday as Blind River travels to Elliot Lake while the Soo Thunderbirds head to Kirkland Lake. Both games get underway at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday sees Blind River and Elliot Lake wrap-up their home-and-home weekend set with Abitibi hosting the Thunderbirds in another 7:30 p.m. start.

Week 3 concludes Sunday at North Bay’s Memorial Gardens as the Trappers entertain the Soo in a 2 p.m. matinee.

UNBEATEN: Looking across the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League you’ll find seven of its 10 member leagues have already started their respective regular seasons, with the other three all commencing this week.

Of those seven leagues and 99 teams currently competing, you’ll find only six of those clubs, who played three or more games, are sitting unbeaten, untied or defeated in overtime or a shootout.

In the early elite group are the Sudbury Nickel Barons who sit 4-0 heading into play tonight.
The NOJHL leaders have also scored the most goals of any CJHL team to date with 26. That is an average of 6.5 tallies per game.

CJHL unbeaten/untied teams who have played three games or more.

TEAM                             LEAGUE  RECORD GF GA
Camrose Kodiaks                  AJHL          5-0             22 11
Coll. Francais Longueuil       LHJAAAQ   5-0             25 10
Sudbury Nickel Barons      NOJHL       4-0             26 12
Coquitlam Express               BCHL          3-0             7   2
Weeks Crushers                   MHL           3-0             18 11
Truro Bearcats                      MHL           3-0             14 3

HAINES IS HOT: While he has a considerable way to go before matching former Sudbury teammate Jordan Carroll’s 70 goals from last season, Darcy Haines is on an early pace to surpass that number.

In his club’s first four games the Sudbury forward has scored in each of them helping his squad win each of those contests.

With a league-best seven markers and adding in four assists he is also the NOJHL’s leading point-producer heading into week 3 of the season with 11.

Another interesting fact has Haines sharing the goal lead across the entire CJHL joining five others on the leader board.

The following are the CJHL goal leaders as of Sept. 19: 
PLAYER                  TEAM            LEAGUE     GP G 
Darcy Haines           Sudbury       NOJHL        4    7
Lars Hespo              Alberni Valley BCHL          4    7
Matt Gallati               Pickering       OJHL           5    7
Joakim Arsenault     Ste-Agathe     LHJAAAQ   6    7 
Benjamin Laliberte   Ste-Jerome    LHJAAAQ   6    7 
Sebastien Bergeron Ste-Agathe    LHJAAAQ    6   7 

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.

THREE STARS: A pair of three-goal performances caught the eye of the selection committee as the NOJHL doled out the Three Stars of the Week honours for the third week of September.

CONNOR MCNALLY – KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS: After dealing with the uncertainty of the change of ownership in Kirkland Lake one year ago, 20 year-old forward Connor McNally is pleased to have some stability under his feet this year. It’s showing in his play as the Val Caron native picked up four goals last week. McNally opened the week in fine fashion, netting a hat trick as the Gold Miners eventually succumbed to the Sudbury Nickel Barons by a final score of 7-5.

SEBASTIEN LEROUX – SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS: A checking forward throughout much of his first two years in the NOJHL, Sebastien Leroux is thrilled to be enjoying the chance to produce, night in and night out, in a top six slot.

Leroux sits in a three-way tie for second place in the league scoring race, adding a goal and four assists last week in a pair of games as Sudbury remains unbeaten in the early going with four straight wins. Having celebrated his 20th birthday last March, Leroux is in his final year of junior hockey eligibility.

ANTHONY MILLER – SOO THUNDERBIRDS: The youngest of this week’s recipients at just 18 years of age, Anthony Miller, made the jump from high school hockey (St Basil’s Saints) directly to the NOJHL this year. Based on his three-goal outburst against the Elliot Lake Bobcats at home last Saturday, Miller appears to be adjusting quickly. A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Miller is one of several newcomers to a Thunderbirds roster that hopes to duplicate the success the team enjoyed one year ago en route to an appearance at the RBC Cup.


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The Eskimos will look snap their 0-3 winless funk to start the season with a victory tonight at unbeaten Sudbury. … Zach Innes holds down the team scoring lead with three points in as many games with a goal and two assists. … The club has only scored five times in total, which is the second lowest total in league so far. … The 17 goals they have allowed to date is the third highest in the league.
BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – The Beavers look to extend their modest one-game winning streak this weekend as they play a home-and-home against Elliot Lake. … Eight different scored in the club’s first win of the season, an 8-3 triumph at Abitibi, on Saturday. … Tyler Brown’s five goals are the second most in the league so far. His seven points pace the club offensively, while also sitting fifth overall in NOJHL offensive production. Teammate Paul Muio is knotted for second in league assists with five. His six points has him in a share for sixth overall.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The first-year Bobcats remain winless after three games. They look for win No. 1 Friday vs. Blind River. … They have scored a league-low three goals early on. … Nicholas Tassone is the team’s leading point producer with a goal and an assist. … Four of the club’s next six games are at home.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners currently sit fourth in the NOJHL standings with a 2-2 record… The duo of Steven Babin and Jordan Briand share the team scoring lead with five points apiece. Babin has four goals and an assist while Briand has tallied once and doled out four helpers … Jordan Turbide and Connor McNally are next with four points each. … Netminder Chris Komma is fifth in league goals-against average at 3.12. … The Miners have one game in store this week, which is a 7:30 p.m. encounter with the Soo Friday at “The Joe.”

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup host Trappers remain unbeaten early on a 3-0-1. …, North Bay has only allowed eight goals in four games including going 82 minutes and five seconds before allowing their first goal against on the season. … They have given up the second fewest goals in the NOJHL. … Greg Dodds has played all four games for the squad while registering a solid 1.92 goals-against average and .923 save mark. He sits second in the league in GAA and third in save percentage. … Forwards Carter Horwitz and Trevor Hunt pace the team offensively with six points apiece. They are also tied for sixth in league scoring. North Bay’s only game this week is Sunday afternoon at home to the Thunderbirds.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Soo’s defensive prowess has been evident early on having only allowed a league-low five goals in three games. … Rookie goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk leads all NOJHL netminders in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.00 and .949 respectively. … Adam Ritchie currently paces the club in offensive production with eight points on four tallies and as many assists. He is tied for second in league scoring. Greg Sartoretto joins him in the NOJHL top 10 in scoring with six points. He sits second on the squad with two markers and four helpers. … A three-game road trip this weekend has the Thunderbirds playing in Kirkland Lake Friday, at Abitibi Saturday before rounding out the week with a 2 p.m. matinee in North Bay Sunday. The T-Birds will play all their home games this season at Essar Centre.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Sudbury has been solid early on going a league-best 4-0 to sit atop the NOJHL standings. They are only one of six teams in the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League who are unbeaten or untied after four or more games. … The Nickel Barons pace both the NOJHL and CJHL in goals scored with 26. …
Sudbury boasts three of the NOJHL’s top four point producers early on. Darcy Haines leads the way with 11 points, including a league-best seven goals. His goal total also ties him for the most in the CJHL so far this season. …Sebastien Leroux and August Jarecki are knotted for second in league scoring with eight points apiece. Michael Muzyka and Alex Laino both have 2-0 records in net. Muzyka is third in goals-against average at 2.00 and second in save percentage at .937. …The Nickel Barons lone game this week in tonight vs. Abitibi as they look to extend their four-game winning streak.