NOTEBOOK: NOJHL announces 2013 playoff format



Release Date: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013

NOTEBOOK: NOJHL announces 2013 playoff format

SUDBURY — With a month to go in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League regular season it appears it will go right down to the wire before the opening round playoff seedings are finally determined.

All seven NOJHL member clubs will qualify for the upcoming postseason with the first place finisher earning themselves the regular season title along with a first-round bye. Each playoff series will be best-of-seven affairs.

Opening round action will run from March 15-27 with the No. 2 seed meeting the No. 7 squad, No. 3 taking on No. 6 and No. 4 vs. 5.

From the three remaining clubs along with the first place finisher will square-off in semifinal play from March 29 through April 10.

The regular season title holder will take on the lowest remaining seed in one series with the other two squads meeting in the other.

From there the two surviving teams will vie for the NOJHL crown April 12-24.

Should the Dudley-Hewitt Cup host North Bay Trappers advance to the league final, then the other club in the final will also represent the NOJHL at the Dudley-Hewitt. The DHC winner then moves on to the Royal Bank Cup Canadian Jr. A championship in Summerside, P.E.I.

NOJHL playoff format (All series best-of-seven)

Round 1 Quarter-finals (March 15-27)

Series A: Second place vs. Seventh place
Series B: Third place vs. Sixth place
Series C: Fourth place vs. Fifth place
Bye: Regular season winner

Round 2 Semifinals (March 29 – April 10)
Series D:
First place vs. Lowest remaining seed
Series E: Winner of round one with highest standing vs. the other winner

Round 3 NOJHL Final (April 12-24)
Series F:
Semifinals winners meet for the NOJHL championship

Dudley-Hewitt Cup @ North Bay (April 30 – May 4)
North Bay Trappers; NOJHL champion or finalist; OJHL champion; SIJHL champion

Royal Bank Cup @ Summerside, P.E.I. (May 11-19)
Summerside Western Capitals (Host)
Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner, Fred Page Cup winner, Western Canada Cup winner and finalist.

ON THE SLATE: A total of seven games are on the NOJHL schedule this week with action getting underway this evening at Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake as the Bobcats host the Sudbury Nickel Barons at 7:30 p.m.

The contest marks the eighth and final regular season meeting between the two sides with Sudbury having won five of the previous seven encounters.

Brad Holman and Stephen Gaul share the team scoring lead for Elliot Lake vs. the Nickel Barons with seven points apiece while Darcy Haines and Sebastien Leroux have topped Sudbury offensively to date against the Bobcats with 13 and 12 points respectively.

There are two tilts on the docket Friday with Elliot Lake paying a visit to North Bay while Sault Ste. Marie welcomes Kirkland Lake to Essar Centre.

The Trappers lead the season set against the Bobcats winning five of six, including four in succession.

North Bay’s Trevor Hunt is the top point getter among the two sides to date with 10 on five goals and as many assists.

With five wins and tie in seven meetings on the year the Thunderbirds have already clinched the season series heading into the final get together Friday.

Connor McNally leads Kirkland Lake in scoring vs. the T-Birds with five points while Adam Ritchie leads the way for his side with five tallies and a pair of helpers.

Continuing a weekend road trip the Gold Miners visit Blind River Saturday in a season series that saw Kirkland Lake take the first four meetings before tying the next one and having the Beavers win the last two.

Samuel Wilbur’s seven points paces Blind River offensively against the Miners, who see Jordan Briand as the top marksmen for his club. He has three markers and has set-up five others heading into their final regular season get together.

Saturday’s other contest features Abitibi hosting North Bay at Jus Jordan Arena at 7:30 p.m.

The Eskimos will try and put the brakes on a six-game losing drought in this one while also trying to pick up their first win of the campaign against the Trappers in five tries.

Brandon Janke and Brennen Dubchak have two game-winners apiece for North Bay in the games against Abitibi.

Peter Poulin-Roy tops the Eski’s in points vs. the Trappers with five as Janke leads the way for his team with six points.

A pair of 2 p.m. matinees will wrap up weekly action Sunday with North Bay at home to Blind River while Elliot Lake entertains Kirkland Lake.

With two games remaining against each other the Trappers have held the upper hand on the Beavers posting a 5-0-1 record getting two winning tallies each from Connor Gilmartin and Samuel Blanchet.

The NOJHL’s leading point producer among defencemen, in Cole Klippenstein, leads his squad in goals vs. Blind River with five. Dubchak is the top overall point producer with nine, all assists. Serving as the go-to guy for the Beavers vs. North Bay has been Corey McEwen who has seven points in as many games on two goals and five helpers.

Kirkland Lake meanwhile has claimed victory if five-of-six get togethers vs. the Bobcats to date.

Henry Berger presently tops Elliot Lake offensively against the Gold Miners with six points while Kyle Bishop has got on the score sheet in each of the first six meetings accumulating a total of eight points.

2013 DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: The 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup in North Bay is just 76 days away.

The NOJHL’s North Bay Trappers will serve as the host team for the five-day event.

Joining the Trappers will be the NOJHL champion or finalist along with the title holders from the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Junior Hockey League.

The tournament will be staged at North Bay’s venerable Memorial Gardens April 30 through May 4 with the DHC winner advancing to represent the region one week later at the 2013 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Jr. A championship in Summerside, P.E.I.

Dudley-Hewitt Cup tickets packages for all eight games remain on sale at the Trapper’s Box Office daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Adult packages are $95 while students and seniors go $75 and children just $50.

You can reserve your seat by calling by calling 705-474-3770.

A quick glance at the other two leagues that will be competing in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup sees the OJHL down to 12 days remaining in their regular season.

Five teams have currently reached or surpassed the 70-point plateau in the OJHL with the Trenton Golden Hawks leading the way with 75.

Two points behind are the Buffalo Jr. Sabres at 73 while the Georgetown Raiders have 72.

Rounding out the group are the St. Michael’s Buzzers and North York Rangers as those two clubs have 70 points each.

Meanwhile in the SIJHL the Minnesota Wilderness continue to roll along.

They currently remain the No. 2 ranked club in the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League.

Minnesota had been nothing short of incredible having not lost a game in regulation time since way back on Oct. 24.

In the 30-game span since that setback the club has reeled off 59 of a possible 60 total points having gone 27-0-0-1 and 43-3-0-1 overall.

After that it is tightly contest among the next four SIJHL squads in the standings.

Only six points divide second from fifth with last season’s league finalist, the Fort Frances Lakers, holding down second spot.

The Lakers, who have won four straight, are two points ahead of the third place Dryden Ice Dogs while the No. 4 Minnesota Iron Rangers sit in fourth with 54 points on the campaign.

Sitting close behind in fifth spot are the Thunder Bay North Stars.

They have 51 points on the season.

You can learn more on the event by visiting the official DHC website at

CJHL TOP 20: The latest Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings released Monday featured the Soo Thunderbirds and North Bay Trappers once again representing the NOJHL.

The weekly listings provided by the CJHL, in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting, found the Thunderbirds tabbed in 15th spot while the Trappers came in at No. 18 overall.

Sault Ste. Marie tops the NOJHL standings with 60 points and a 27-8-3-3 overall record.

North Bay sits just two points back with 58 while also holding three games in hand. Their overall mark stands at 26-6-3-3.

With the games discrepancy the Trappers boast a league-best .763 winning percentage with the T-Birds close behind at .732.

There was no change once again among the top three clubs in the CJHL rankings again this week with the Brooks Bandits (AJHL), Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL) and Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) coming in at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.

The following were the CJHL Top 20 teams, as of Feb. 11, listing their overall ranking, their position last week, as well as the league they are a member of.

1. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (1)
2. Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL) (2)
3. Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) (3)
4. Dauphin Kings (MJHL) (6)
5. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)(8)
6. Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) (4)
7. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (7)
8. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (5)
9. Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) (10)
10. Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) (12)
11. Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) (9)
12. Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) (11)
13. Truro Bearcats (MHL) (13)
14. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) (14)
15. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (15)
16. Melville Millionaires (SJHL) (17)
17. Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) (18)
18. North Bay Trappers (NOJHL) (16)
19. College Francais de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (20)
20. Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (HM)

Honourable Mention: Merritt Centennials (BCHL), OCN Blizzard (MJHL), Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL), Cornwall Colts (CCHL), Amherst Ramblers (MHL)

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, and total points accumulated along with goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.

The CJHL is an amalgamation of 10 Jr. A hockey leagues across Canada.

More information on the CJHL can be found by visiting the league website


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – Having dropped six in a row, Abitibi will look to get back into the win column Saturday in their lone game of the week as they host North Bay at Jus Jordan. … Their recent drought has seen the squad slip to sixth in the NOJHL standings, two points in arrears of Blind River. They do however hold two games in hand on the Beavers. … The Eski’s remain two points ahead of seventh place Elliot Lake with a game in hand on them as well. … A three-game point streak, in which he has registered one goal and five assists, has allowed Peter Poulin-Roy to take over the team scoring lead with 35 points in just 25 games. … Each of the club’s next three games is on home ice.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Two wins in their past three games has allowed the Beavers to move into fifth spot in the NOJHL standings. … The club has two games scheduled this week as they are at home to Kirkland Lake Saturday before heading to North Bay Sunday afternoon. … The duo of Samuel Wilbur and Corey McEwen remain fifth and sixth respectively in NOJHL scoring. Wilbur has 46 points on 17 tallies and 29 assists with McEwen having 18 markers and 26 helpers. … McEwen has also registered at least one point in 15 of his past 17 games. … Teammate Brandon Bazinet has eight points in his past five games. … The Beavers play three of their next four on the road.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats are 3-2 in their past five games having moved to with two points of sharing sixth place in the NOJHL standings. … The club is 9-7-1 when scoring first in a game so far this season, but only 2-19 when their opponents strike first. … Elliot Lake has scored the fewest goals in the league so far this season at 113 with their 197 against being the most given up in the league. … 10 points in his past five outings has seen Henry Berger take over the team scoring lead with 30 in just 31 games. … Six of the 12 markers Nicholas Tassone has contributed this season have come on the power play. … After tonight the squad plays five of eight away from home.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Kirkland Lake hits the road for three games this weekend with stops in Sault Ste. Marie, Blind River and Elliot Lake. … Five of their last seven contests are away from home. … Captain Connor McNally still leads the team offensively in both goals and points with 18 and 31 respectively. … Steven Babin is close behind with 30 points on the campaign. Of the 17 goals he has scored, a dozen have come on the power play, which leads the NOJHL. … Among netminders who have played 1,500 or more minutes Chris Komma remains third in goals-against average in the NOJHL at 2.68. His three shutouts continue to top the league. He has also played the most minutes in the NOJHL at 1,928:13. Komma’s 17 victories tie him for the second most in the league.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers were tabbed 18th nationally in the most recent CJHL rankings. … North Bay sits second in the league standings, two points behind Sault Ste. Marie, but boasts the best winning percentage at .763. … Greg Dodds leads all NOJHL goalkeepers in wins (22), goals-against-average, (2.23) and save percentage. (.929). … Brennen Dubchak has points in 11 of his past 14 games and leads the Trappers offensively with 39 points. He is tied for seventh overall in league scoring. … Trevor Hunt is second on the club and 11th overall with 36 points. … Cole Klippenstein tops all NOJHL D-men in goals (14) and points (30). … North Bay is 10-0-2 when Graham Pickard picks up a point in a game. … Seven of the Trappers last 10 games will be played on Memorial Gardens’ ice.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds continue ranked 15th overall in the CJHL Top 20 rankings… Darcy Casola has a modest four-game point streak on the go and leads the club with 60 points. He sits third in NOJHL scoring. … The Soo sports four other skaters among the top 10 in league offensive production as well. Adam Ritchie (56pts) is fourth, Anthony Miller (39pts) and Brandon Warmington (39pts) share eighth and Derek Battagin (37pts) sits 10th. … Joel Horodziejczyk is second among NOJHL netminders in both goals-against average at 2.38 and save percentage at .918. Steve Dombrowksi has won his last nine starts. … The T-Birds have five of their last seven at home.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Sudbury’s lone game of the week goes tonight at Elliot Lake. … Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines continue to sit one-two in league scoring with 73 and 68 points respectively. … Leroux has only been held pointless five times so far this season and leads all skaters in the league in point-per-game average at 1.92. … Haines leads all skaters in the league in goals with 32 and sits second point-per-game prowess at 1.84. … He is also tied for third overall in power play tallies with eight. … August Jarecki is riding a seven-game point streak. … Michael Muzyka is fifth in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 3.47. … He is 6-4 in his last 10 appearances. Netminding partner Alex Laino has been stellar of late posting a 9-1 record in his past 10 decisions. He has lowered his goals-against average to 3.57 while raising his save percentage to .900. … Five of the club’s last nine regular season contests are on the road.