Sault Ste. Marie leads the way in NOJHL power play success




Release Date: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012

Sault Ste. Marie leads the way in NOJHL power play success

SUDBURY — The statistical efforts of Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Historian David Harrison shows the Soo Thunderbirds not only lead the way in the overall standings, but their proficiency on the power play has them at the top of that table as well.

The front-running T-Birds presently pace the NOJHL while holding the man advantage having found the back of the net 30 times in 111 opportunities.

With a success rate of 27.03 percent the Sault Ste. Marie power play is nearly eight percentage points higher than the league average of 19.09 %.

It’s a close race for second and third in the NOJHL in this category with North Bay holding a narrow margin over Kirkland Lake at 22.22% and 21.88% respectively.

Each side has scored 28 times with the man advantage with the Trappers accomplishing this with two fewer chances than the Gold Miners.

The Beavers of Blind River sit fourth in power play success scoring 25 times on 142 attempts for a 17.61 success rate.

Abitibi and Sudbury are close for fifth and sixth with the Eskimos firing at a 15.18% clip while the Nickel Barons are at 15.09%.

Round out the list are the first-year Elliot Lake Bobcats.

They are averaging a 13.89% rate on the PP having notched 15 extra man tallies in 108 attempts.

NOJHL Power Play Leaders (As of Nov. 28)

Team            PPG OPP PP%
Soo                30 111 27.03

North Bay       28 126 22.22
Kirkland Lake 28 128 21.88
Blind River      25 142 17.61
Abitibi              17 112 15.18
Sudbury          16 106 15.09
Elliot Lake       15 108 13.89
Totals             159 833 19.09

WEEK 12: Game action in the NOJHL this week features six contests on tap.

Kicking off week 12 will be a 7:30 p.m. start tonight as Sudbury hosts Blind Rivers at McClelland Arena.

A rare Thursday match-up sees North Bay at home to Elliott Lake with puck drop set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Gardens.

Friday’s lone tilt sees Elliot Lake back on the ice as the welcome Kirkland Lake to Centennial Arena.

The Gold Miners continue a weekend road trip Saturday as they visit Blind River while Abitibi takes on Sudbury in a neutral site game at Tim Horton Events Centre in Cochrane. Both contests there get underway at 7:30 p.m.

Wrapping up week 12 in the NOJHL the Soo Thunderbirds entertain Kirkland Lake in a 4:30 p.m. start at Essar Centre.

SUDBURY SNIPERS: Despite going 4-10 in their past 14 games the Sudbury Nickel Barons are still getting plenty of offensive contributions from Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines.

The Nickel Barons’ duo presently sits one-two in league scoring with Leroux accumulating 40 points on the year while Haines is right behind with 39.

Leroux has racked up seven goals and nine assists in his last seven games while Haines has eight points in his past three outings, including three goals.

SOO STOPPERS: The netminders of the Soo Thunderbirds are well on their way to repeating in the NOJHL team goaltending award category.

Among those who have played a minimum of 600 minutes so far this season, the T-Birds rookie combo of Joel Horodziejczyk and Steven Dombrowski sit first and third respectively in league goals-against average.

Horodziejczyk currently sports a NOJHL-best 1.89 GAA while Dombrowski sits third overall at 2.64.

Both netminders have two shutouts apiece helping their club only allow a league-low 51 goals against so far this season.

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.
The Minnesota Wilderness look to be early favourites to capture a third straight SIJHL title and return to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup as they presently have a league-best 19-3 record. 

Another U.S. based side in the Buffalo Jr. Sabres currently top the OJHL standings with 46 points with a 22-8-0-2 record.

Having played six fewer games than Buffalo the Trenton Golden Hawks hold down the top winning percentage in the OJHL at .788 with a 20-5-0-1 mark.

NOJHL THREE STARS: There is no lack of impressive incoming talent in the NOJHL this year.

The freshman class was even more in evidence this past week with a trio of rookies sweeping the honours in the latest installment of the NOJHL Three Stars of the Week for the time frame concluding Nov 25.

STEVE BABIN – KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS: After being off the ice for almost six weeks, Steve Babin returned to the Gold Miners lineup with a vengeance. The 18-year-old sharp-shooter from Val D’Or picked up five points in three games last week, helping Kirkland Lake to a 1-1-1 record as the remains four points ahead of Sudbury in league standings.

A 5’9” forward, Babin has chalked up 10 goals in only 13 games with the Gold Miners this year, immediately boosting the effectiveness of linemate and Kirkland Lake leading scorer Jordon Briand.

MARTIN JOLICOEUR – SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS: A familiar face on Sudbury Minor Hockey Association AAA teams in his youth, 19-year-old Martin Jolicoeur spent the past few years in the eastern corner of the province, acquired from the Metcalf Jets in the off-season.

Recently united with Darcy Haines and Sebastien Leroux on the top trio in Sudbury, Jolicoeur made the most of his chances, racking up five points in a 7-4 win over Kirkland Lake.

A physical presence with the Barons, Jolicoeur doubled his 2012-13 production to date in recent games, finding himself now in 7th place in team scoring with an even dozen points in 19 games to date.

JOEL HORODZIEJCZYK – SOO THUNDERBIRDS: It would appear that opposing NOJHL scorers are having every bit as much trouble solving T-Birds rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk, as northern media types are having coming to grips with the proper pronunciation of the last name of the talented puck-stopper.

After performing his magic act in the crease with the Nickel City Sons of the Great North Midget League last year, the 17-year-old goalie has made the jump to the junior ranks rather seamlessly.

Horodzieczyk, who racked up his second shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over Elliot Lake, currently leads the NOJHL with a stingy 1.89 goals-against average and a save percentage of .927.

CJHL TOP 20: The surging Soo Thunderbirds continue to make their move up the Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings.

Moving up three spots the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League leaders have jumped to seventh overall in the latest listings released earlier this week.

Currently sitting in top spot in the NOJHL with a league-best 17-2-1-2 overall record and 37 points the T-Birds have gone 14-1-1 in their past 16 outings making them one of the hottest clubs in the entire 128-team CJHL.

The CJHL Top 20 is formulated each week in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting and is based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the teams belong to as well as regular season results.

Holding on to top spot in the CJHL for yet another week are the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits.

Brooks suffered their first loss of the season Friday, a 4-1 road setback to the seventh-ranked Grande Prairie Storm, but still boast an impressive 21-1 record along with a CJHL-best .955 winning percentage.

Coming in at No. 2 this week are the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Jr. Hockey League while the Maritime Hockey League’s Truro Bearcats round out the top three.

The following are the CJHL Top 20 as of Nov. 26, 2012, listing the overall ranking, their listing last week, the team as well as the league they are a member of.

1. (1) Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
2. (3) Truro Bearcats (MHL)
3. (2) Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL)
4. (4) Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL)
5. (6) Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
6. (5) OCN Blizzard (MJHL)
7. (10) Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
8. (7) Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL)
9. (9) Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)
10. (12) Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) 
11. (13) Summerside Western Capitals (MHL)
12. (11) Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
13. (15) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
15. (8) Winnipeg Blues (MJHL)
16. (17) Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) 
17. (HM) Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)
18. (HM) Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL)
19. (19) Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL) 
20. (20) Saint Jerome Pantheres (LHJAAAQ)
Honourable Mention: Surrey Eagles (BCHL), Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL), St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL), Oakville Blades (OJHL), Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL).

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

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


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The Eskimos take to the ice Saturday in their lone game of the week, which is a neutral site contest to be played at the Tim Horton Events Centre in Cochrane vs. Sudbury. … The club will look to extend a modest winning streak to two with a victory in that game. … Abitibi remains fifth in the league standings with a 7-12-0-1 overall record. … Richard Therrien leads all players in the NOJHL in goals with 21. He is knotted for fourth in total points in the NOJHL with 35. … The Eskimos next four games will all be away from home. Along with the neutral site affair Saturday three road contests will follow with stops in Elliot Lake, Sault Ste. Marie and Blind River.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – The Beavers game goes this evening in Sudbury before returning home for three straight at the Blind River Community Centre. … The club is winless in their past six having gone 0-4-1-1 … The club sits sixth in the league standings with a 4-13-2-3 mark. … Samuel Wilbur has eight points in his last four games and leads the club offensively with 23 points overall. His is ninth in NOJHL scoring.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats have won two of their last three and will look to continue their winning ways Thursday as they visit North Bay before heading home to take on Kirkland Lake Friday. … Despite their recent success the club remains seventh in the NOJHL standings with a 5-14-0-1 mark. … They have scored the fewest goals in the league so far this season with 52 and their 101 against is a tie for most given up in the league. … Nicholas Tassone and Steve Gaul share the team scoring lead with 12 points apiece… When scoring first in a game the Bobcats are 4-0-1, but only 1-14 when the opposition nets the opening tally in a contest.
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners take to the ice Friday in Elliot Lake in the first of four straight away from home. They also have stops in Blind River and Sault Ste. Marie this weekend. … Kirkland Lake remains in third place in the league standings with a 13-8-1-1 overall record, including 7-2-1 in their past 10. …. The club has allowed third fewest goals against to date with 71. … Jordan Briand is riding an eight-game point streak and leads the team offensively with 21 points. … Connor McNally and Royce King are second on the squad with 19 points. … Chris Komma is fourth in NOJHL goals-against average at .2.90 and in save percentage at .895 while playing the most minutes overall at 1118:38. … He is tied for the league-lead in wins with 11.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – North Bay is at home Thursday to Elliot Lake in their lone game of the week. …They have allowed the second fewest goals in the NOJHL this season at 59. … Goalkeeper Greg Dodds is second in goals-against average in the league at 2.36. He is also second in save percentage at .923. … Brandon Janke has a mini three-game point streak and leads the team offensively with 29 points. His totals leave him in sixth in league scoring. … Brennen Dubchak and Corbin Bean are next on the club with 22 points. They are knotted for 10th in the NOJHL. … Cole Klippenstein leads all NOJHL D-men in points with 18. … North Bay is 8-0-1 when Graham Pickard picks up a point.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds have moved up to seventh in the latest CJHL rankings. … They sit in first place in the NOJHL standings with a 17-2-1-2 record. They have scored the most goals in the league with 104 and allowed the fewest against at 51. … Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk leads all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 1.89. He is also first in save percentage at .927… Another first-year netminder in Steven Dombrowski has won his last seven starts and sits third in GAA at 2.64 and in save percentage at .912. … Adam Ritchie leads the T-Birds with 36 points and is third overall in the league. … Darcy Casola is tied for fourth in the NOJHL with 35 points. Derek Battagin (26pts) and Greg Sartoretto (25pts) sit seventh and eighth respectively in league offensive numbers.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Sudbury hosts Blind River tonight before heading to Cochrane for a neutral site contest vs. Abitibi Saturday. … The Nickel Barons boast the top two scorers in the league with Sebastien Leroux and Darcy Haines having 40 and 39 points respectively. … Leroux has been held of the score sheet twice in 21 games on the campaign. … The club is third overall in goals scored with 90 while allowing the fourth most at 93. … Michael Muzyka remains fifth in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 3.61. … Sudbury plays three of their next four on home ice. … The Nickel Barons have gone 4-10 in their past 14 games after starting the year 8-0.