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Playoff series preview: Espanola Rivermen vs. Sudbury Nickel Barons

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

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Release Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Playoff series preview: Espanola Rivermen vs. Sudbury Nickel Barons

SUDBURY – Postseason action in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League gets underway tonight as the Espanola Rivermen and Sudbury Nickel Barons begin a best-of-seven quarter-final series at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff at 7:30 p.m.

The following is a preview on the Espanola – Sudbury preview:

SCHEDULE:  Even though Espanola is the higher seeded squad after finishing third overall in the NOHL standings, it’s Sudbury that will be the home team in the opener due to a number of arena conflicts and ice availability.

After starting on the road for the first contest the Rivermen will return home to host games 2 on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.

Game 4, which goes at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19, also features another potential ice issue with the contest either being held at the Davies Community Centre in Walden or back at McClelland Arena.

The venue for that match-up will be confirmed as soon as it is finalized.

The Northeastern & the Islands Recreation Centre in Little Current is scheduled to be the site for game 5 in the series if required. It will be held Friday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m.

If necessary game 6 is slated for Sunday, March 23 at McClelland Arena at 7:30 p.m.

Should a seventh and deciding game be needed, it will be staged back in Espanola on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m.

COMING IN: Sudbury has played well entering the playoffs going 3-1-0-1 in their final five regular season contests while Espanola was 2-3.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: The two sides met eight times during the course of the regular season, and in terms of wins, the Rivermen dominated they season series as they came away victorious in seven of the meetings.

Even though Espanola outscored the Nickel Barons by a 37-24 margin overall in those contests, five of the games were decided by just one goal, including two in overtime.

Sudbury’s lone victory was a 38-save shutout posted by Andrew Lefebvre in a 1-0 decision last Wednesday.

GAME RESULTS:

Sept. 25 @ Sudbury 7-4 Rivermen
Sept. 27 @ Espanola 5-4 Rivermen
Nov. 6 @ Sudbury 6-5 Rivermen (2OT)
Nov. 8 @ Espanola 4-2 Rivermen
Feb. 5 @ Sudbury 8-3 Rivermen
Feb. 7 @ Espanola 3-2 Rivermen
March 5 @ Sudbury 1-0 Nickel Barons
March 7 @ Espanola 4-3 Rivermen (OT)

POINT PRODUCERS: Leading the way offensively for Espanola in the season set vs. Sudbury was their big line of Brandon Janke, Corbin Bean and Brennen Dubchak.

The trio amassed 31 points between them with Bean and Dubchak both scoring five times and doling out six assists while Janke had three tallies and six helpers.

Three Nickel Barons paced them against the Rivermen, including defenceman Khadyn Butterfly, who had a team-high four goals. He also set-up two others.

Brody Brunet and August Jarecki both had a half dozen points against Espanola with Brunet supplying a pair of markers and four assists. Jarecki had a goal and picked up assists on five more.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Among goaltenders still on the Espanola roster, Marc Terriault and Kevin Labelle had two wins apiece for the club. Lefebvre had the lone victory for Sudbury.

SPECIAL TEAMS: While on the power play the Rivermen scored seven times in 51 opportunities against the Nickel Barons in the season set while Sudbury tallies five times in 36 man advantage chances.

The two sides combined for three shorthanded goals, including two by Espanola.

OVERALL: Espanola (32-23-0-1) finished with 20 more points than Sudbury (19-30-0-7) in the NOJHL standings and also scored 48 more goals while giving up 32 fewer than the Nickel Barons.