SUDBURY, Ont. – Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff action between the Greater Sudbury Cubs and Espanola Paper Kings begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. with Game 1 at T.M. Davies Community Centre & Arena in Lively.
Here’s a look at the best-of-seven series:
Cubs: Darryl Moxam
Paper Kings: Jason Rapcewicz
Greater Sudbury: 46-10-2-0 (1st NOJHL West/2nd Overall)
Espanola: 29-24-2-3 (4th NOJHL West/7th Overall)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Going up against each other on 12 occasions during the regular season, Greater Sudbury came out on top there by an 8-3-1-0 count.
The Cubs were a perfect 6-0 on the road versus the Paper Kings during the campaign, while each of Espanola’s four victories, one of which was in overtime, came in Sudbury.
Sept. 15: @ Sudbury (4-3 Paper Kings – OT)
Oct. 13: @ Sudbury (7-4 Cubs)
Oct. 21: @ Espanola (6-1 Cubs)
Nov. 13: @ Espanola (5-4 Cubs)
Dec. 4: @ Espanola (2-0 Cubs)
Dec. 15: @ Sudbury (4-1 Paper Kings)
Jan. 7: @ Espanola (6-2 Cubs)
Feb. 2: @ Sudbury (7-2 Paper Kings)
Feb. 17: @ Espanola (5-3 Cubs)
Feb. 23: @ Sudbury (2-1 Paper Kings)
March 10: @ Espanola (5-3 Cubs)
March 16: @ Sudbury (8-3 Cubs)
NOJHL West Division semifinal
Greater Sudbury Cubs vs. Espanola Paper Kings
Game 1: Thursday, March 23 @ Greater Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (T.M. Davies Arena)
Game 2: Friday, March 24 @ Greater Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (T.M. Davies Arena)
Game 3: Sunday, March 26 @ Espanola 7 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)
Game 4: Monday, March 27 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)
Game 5*: Thursday, March 30 @ Greater Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (T.M. Davies Arena)
Game 6*: Friday, March 31 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)
Game 7*: Sunday, April 2 @ Greater Sudbury 2:30 p.m. (T.M. Davies Arena)
THE CUBS: Winning the NOJHL’s West Division, while finishing just one point out of top spot overall, Greater Sudbury had a solid campaign under head coach Darry Moxam. … The Cubs talented forward trio of Pierson Sobush, Oliver Smith and Billy Biedermann all finished in the Top 10 in league scoring. … Sobush tied for sixth in offensive production with 70 points, including 44 goals. … His tally total was the second-highest in the NOJHL. … Ending up third in man advantage markers with a dozen, Sobush, a second team NOJHL All-Star, also lead all skaters in shorthanded goals with five. … Fellow forward Smith was also over a point-per-game producer for Greater Sudbury, as he registered 69 in 55 outings on 23 goals and 46 helpers. … He was eighth overall in scoring. … Close behind was Beidermann, who tied for 10th in offensive numbers with 67 points. … Of his 22 markers, Biedermann’s seven game-winning efforts led the team and tied him for the third-most in league play. … NOJHL Rookie of the Year, Kyloe Ellis, led all Greater Sudbury defencemen in points with 43 as he scored eight times and dished out 35 assists, while appearing in all of his squad’s 58 contests. … That placed him fifth in scoring among all league blueliners. … Veteran D-man Nicholas Toffoli also chipped in with 34 points, in setting personal bests in goals (9) and assists (25) along the way. … Boasting a solid goaltending duo, in Noah Metivier and Noah Beaulne, both collected 19 wins apiece. … Named a second team NOJHL All-Star in net, Metivier led all league stoppers in save percentage at .930. … He was also fourth in goals-against average at 2.01 and posted four shutouts. …. As for Beaulne, he sported a 2.43 GAA, along with a save mark of .908 and one shutout. … The Cubs had the third-highest goal total in league play with 248 and gave up the third fewest at 138. … Greater Sudbury notched the night’s first goal 37 times on the year and went 35-2-0-0 when doing do. … They club was fourth in the league on the power play at 23.3% and fifth on the P.K. at 83.2%. … The Cubs were nearly perfect when leading after two periods of play, going 39-0-1-0 overall.
THE PAPER KINGS: Espanola was led by the NOJHL’s Best Overall Team Player honouree and a 1st Team All-Star, Lucas Signoetti. … The 18-year-old from Kinborn, Ont., sported an NOJHL-best point-per-game average of 1.98 while scoring 39 times and assisting on 40 others in 40 games for the Paper Kings. … Signoretti’s efforts included 23 multi-point performances and getting his name on the game sheet offensively in each of his final 15 outings, as well as in 23 of his last 24 contests. … Also contributing offensively with the club was Jonathan Lush, who had 47 points while Devin Mauro amassed 20 in just 11 games played. … On the back-end, Espanola got plenty of production from the duo of Joshua Rumolo and Spencer Horgan. … They finished third and fourth respectively in scoring among defencemen with 47 and 46. … Horgan’s 16 goals, were the second-most among blueliners. … He also topped all league rookie rearguards in points. … Goaltender Jake Marois saw plenty of action between the pipes for his side, while picking up 16 wins along the way. … Marois saw the fifth-most minutes among NOJHL netminders at 1,991 and had the second-highest save total with 1,222. … Creedon Dyck chipped with seven victories for the Paper Kings while rookie Andrew Gaulton began his junior career going 4-1-1-0 before missing considerable time due to injury and finished with five triumphs overall. … Espanola was seventh in the league in goals scored with 223 and were eighth in goals against at 218. … Converting at a rate of 22% helped the Paper Kings finish fifth overall in terms of power play proficiency. … Meanwhile the team was seventh on the penalty kill at 80.5%. … Espanola did however lead the NOJHL in shorthanded goals with 11. … When leading after two periods of play, the Paper Kings went 16-4-1-3. … The Paper Kings had a record of 15-7-1-2 when they notched the game’s opening goal.
UP NEXT: The winner of this match-up will advance to take on either the Blind River Beavers or Soo Thunderbirds in a best-of-seven West Division Final.
WHERE TO WATCH: All NOJHL playoff games will be streamed live online, and on demand, via HockeyTV.com.
Photo credit: Sudbury Light Event Photography