NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Saturday, March 30, 2013
North Bay – Kirkland Lake semifinal preview
SUDBURY – While the Soo Thunderbirds – Sudbury Nickel Barons semifinal in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs has already began, the other postseason series between the No. 1 seeded North Bay Trappers and No. 4 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners gets underway tonight with game 1 at North Bay’s Memorial Gardens in a 7 p.m. start.
The following is a preview of the best-of-seven affair featuring the Trappers and Gold Miners.
After this evening’s opener game 2 goes Sunday, back in North Bay, and features another 7 p.m. face-off.
The series then shifts to the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex in Kirkland Lake April 5-6 for games 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Should they be required, game 5 will take place April 8 in North Bay, game 6 back in Kirkland Lake April 9 and once again if needed game 7 will be played April 11 in North Bay.
NOJHL Playoffs: Round 2
No. 1 North Bay Trappers vs. No. 4 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Best-of-seven series tied 0-0
Game 1: Saturday, March 30 @ North Bay 7 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)
Game 2: Sunday, March 31 @ North Bay 7 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)
Game 3: Friday, April 5 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Game 4: Saturday, April 6 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Game 5*: Monday, April 8 @ North Bay 7 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)
Game 6*: Tuesday, April 9 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Game 7*: Thursday, April 11 @ North Bay 7 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)
This evening’s series opener will mark the first game North Bay has played since March 10 when they closed out regular season play with a 6-3 triumph over Elliot Lake.
The Miners meanwhile come into the series on a high after promptly sweeping Blind River in opening round playoff action.
North Bay earned the time off by virtue of claiming the NOJHL regular season crown with a league-best 34-7-3-4 overall record.
Their 75 total points were 20 more than Kirkland Lake, who ended up fourth in the standings at 25-18-2-3.
The two teams tangled eight times during the course of the 2012-13 regular season with the Trappers dominating the contests winning seven of the meetings while also outscoring the Gold Miners by a 30-16 margin.
As the home side North Bay won all four games at the Memorial Gardens against them and was 1-3 on the road.
Connor Gilmartin and Tait Seguin of North Bay both chipped in with two game-winning tallies apiece against Kirkland Lake.
Three of the goals the Trappers notched came on the power play with the Gold Miners netting seven of their 16 with the man advantage.
North Bay used a well-balanced attack against their semifinal opponents having eight skaters who registered five or more points against the Miners.
Leading that group were Tait Seguin and Justin Schneeberger with seven points each.
Trevor Hunt and Stephen Langford were next as the pair both picked up a half dozen points.
As for the Gold Miners four players on the squad topped the team with three points each.
They included Steven Babin, Jeremy Picard-Fiset, Jonathon Dionne and Ryan Scherer.
Of note, Babin was a force on special teams for his side as he scored a league-leading 15 times on the power play.
Trappers defenceman Cole Klippenstein was next in that department with 11, which helped him pace all NOJHL blueliners in offensive production with 37 points.
In the regular season North Bay netminder was unbeatable vs. Kirkland Lake going 7-0 in his time manning the net.
Chris Komma was 1-6 in his appearances against the Trappers on the campaign.
Overall the Traps led the league in power play proficiency at 23.7% while the G-Miners were third at 22.2%.
North Bay vs. Kirkland Lake regular season meetings
Sept. 16 @ Kirkland Lake (3-2 Trappers)
Oct. 5 @ North Bay (5-1 Trappers)
Nov. 24 @ Kirkland Lake (5-2 Gold Miners)
Dec. 7 @ North Bay (4-1 Trappers)
Jan. 5 @ Kirkland Lake (4-1 Trappers)
Jan. 6 @ North Bay (6-3 Trappers)
Feb. 1 @ Kirkland Lake (3-1 Trappers)
Feb. 10 @ North Bay (3-2 Trappers 2 OT)
So far in the playoffs Komma leads all NOJHL netminders in wins with four and sits second in goals-against average at 1.50.
His .937 save percentage is also second best overall.
Jean-Michel Naud has paced the team offensively in the postseason with eight points while Jean-Francois Silvestre is next with seven. His three tallies share the team lead with Steven Babin.
This marks the first-ever postseason meeting between the two clubs.
It also features the NOJHL’s last two coach of the year recipients leading their respective clubs with last season’s honouree Tom McCarthy behind the North Bay bench and this season’s winner, Marc Lafleur, guiding a well-disciplined group of Gold Miners, who boast a league-low 612 penalty minutes.
North Bay sat second in this category with 681 minutes in penalties accumulated.
The winner of this series will take on the club who comes out on top between the Thunderbirds and Nickel Barons for the NOJHL championship.
Sault Ste. Marie is up 1-0 in that best-of-seven set with game 2 going tonight at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff at 7:30 p.m.