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NOJHL Notebook: Eight games featured on the league docket this week

12/12/2012, 5:30pm EST
By NOJHL Communications

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL COMMUNICATIONS
MEDIA RELEASE

Release Date: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012

Eight games featured on the NOJHL docket this week

SUDBURY -- A busy five-day stretch in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in week 14 features a total of eight games on the docket.

With the statistical efforts of NOJHL Historian David Harrison, here is on each of those contests.

Wednesday, Dec. 12 – Elliot Lake @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m.: Tonight marks the fourth of eight meetings between the two sides this season. … The Nickel Barons won the first two games convincingly by scores of 7-2 and 9-3 back in September with the Bobcats taking the last encounter 3-2 on Nov. 12.

Friday, Dec. 14 – Blind River @ North Bay 7 p.m.: The Trappers host the Beavers in the fourth get together of the season, but first in North Bay. … The Trappers have won their opening three contests, but one game required overtime and another needed double OT to decide things.

Friday, Dec. 14 – Soo @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m.: This will mark the sixth time this season the clubs will meet. … While the Thunderbirds are 4-0-1 in the first four meetings, three of the match-ups were decided by one goal as well as a 2-2 double OT draw in their last game on Dec. 2.

Friday, Dec. 14 – Sudbury @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m.: This is the second of a home-and-home between Sudbury and Elliot Lake with Centennial Arena serving as the back drop for this one.

Saturday, Dec. 15 – Soo @ Abitibi 7:30 p.m.: Fifth time the two clubs will face-off with Abitibi winning the opening contest while the T-Birds have taken the last three, including a 3-1 victory in Sault Ste. Marie this past Saturday.

Saturday, Dec. 15 – Sudbury @ Blind River: The Beavers and Nickel Barons square off in the sixth of eight meetings Saturday with Sudbury taking four of the first five. … Darcy Haines of Sudbury has two game-winning goals in the season series to date while teammate Sebastien Leroux has set-up three.

Sunday, Dec. 16 – Soo @ North Bay 2 p.m.: A first place showdown is on the line in this one. … Each side has won twice to date while they skated to a tie in the other. … The Trappers have scored 17 times to the T-Birds 14.

Sunday, Dec. 16 – Abitibi @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m.: Fifth time on the campaign the two clubs will go up against each other. … The Gold Miners lead the season series 3-1. Marks their first meeting since Nov. 2 when Kirkland Lake won 4-2 in Iroquois Falls. … Chris Komma ha three wins for the Miners.

NOJHL THREE STARS: In a very tight scoring race, a six-point game can go a long, long way.

Abitibi captain Richard Therrien was the beneficiary of just such an outburst last week, grabbing the headlines in the process in the NOJHL Three Stars of the Week for the week time frame concluding Dec. 9.

RICHARD THERRIEN – ABITIBI ESKIMOS: The 20-year-old Hearst native makes his second appearance of the year on the “Three Stars” honours thanks to a nine-point week that vaulted the veteran Abitibi forward to the top of the NOJHL scoring race.

With 48 points in 23 games, Therrien moved two points ahead of Sudbury forward Sebastien Leroux and three up on his linemate, Darcy Haines. Therrien recorded a goal and five assists Sunday, helping the Eskies to an 8-5 win over Blind River on the road.

SAMUEL WILBUR – BLIND RIVER BEAVERS: The high-scoring affair also produced the second star of the week as Blind River forward Samuel Wilbur climbed his way up to sixth in league scoring.

A 19-year-old who hails from Saginaw, Mich., Wilbur racked up five points last week, increasing his season total to 30 in 26 games.

That output leaves the 6’2” forward deadlocked with Brandon Janke of North Bay as no less than five of the league’s seven teams are represented in the NOJHL top ten scorers.

HENRY BERGER – ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS: The Elliot Lake Bobcats are displaying increasing competitiveness in recent weeks, winning by one and losing by one last week. Their improvement has been sparked, in part, by the hot hand of late September acquisition Henry Berger.

The 18-year-old native of Clearmont, Calif., has hit the scoresheet in seven of his last eight games, accumulating 13 points over that stretch.

Now settled into his new home after a slow start with the Bobcats, Berger has reached the point-per-game plateau, chalking up 17 points in an equal number of appearances.

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
features 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.

Looking at the NOJHL’s potential competition at the DHC you’ll find the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Junior Hockey League are going all out to make their third straight Dudley-Hewitt appearance.

Winners of 12 games in a row they currently pace the SIJHL standings with a 24-3 record.

As for the Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Buffalo Jr. Sabres presently have the most points in the league at 52 and are second overall in winning percentage at .722.

Having played five fewer games, the Trenton Golden Hawks sport the best win mark in the OJHL at .758 and have 47 points.

CJHL TOP 20: The top two clubs in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League have once again drawn recognition from the Canadian Junior Hockey League when it comes to the top ranked teams in the country.

As leaders of the NOJHL standings, Sault Ste. Marie was tabbed No. 12 overall in CJHL Top 20 this week in rankings compiled in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

North Bay meanwhile garnered Honourable Mention laurels for a second consecutive week.

The Thunderbirds currently pace the NOJHL with an 18-3-2-2 record, one point clear of the second place Trappers who are at 17-3-2-3 on the year.

The red-hot Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League presently have the best record in the entire 128-team CJHL at 30-1 and sit No. 1 overall for yet another week.

Rounding out the top five are the Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL), Truro Bearcats (MHL), Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) and the OCN Blizzard (MJHL) who are ranked second, third, fourth and fifth respectively.

The following are the CJHL Top 20 as of Dec. 10 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) Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL)
3. (2) Truro Bearcats (MHL)
4. (4) Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
5. (6) OCN Blizzard (MJHL)
6. (12) Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)
7. (5) Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL)
8. (10) Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) 
9. (14) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
10. (9) Summerside Western Capitals (MHL)
11. (15) Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
12. (7) Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
13. (11) Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)
14. (13) Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
15. (16) Dauphin Kings (MJHL)
16. (HM) Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
17. (8) Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL)
18. (NR) Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL)
19. (18) Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL)
20. (20) Saint Jerome Pantheres (LHJAAAQ)

Honourable Mention: North Bay Trappers (NOJHL), Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL), Winnipeg Blues (MJHL), St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL), Georgetown Raiders. (OJHL)

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 www.cjhlhockey.com.

TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTEBOOK

ABITIBI ESKIMOS – Having racked up 16 points during the course of a five-game point streak Eskimos captain Richard Therrien has vaulted into the league scoring lead with 48 points. 26 of those points have come in his last nine contests. His 25 goals also lead the NOJHL. … The club remains fifth in the league standings with a 10-13-0-1 overall record, but have gone 4-1 in the past five games. … Abitibi is at home Saturday to Sault Ste. Marie and at Kirkland Lake Sunday evening. …Ryan Wildman and Peter Poulin-Roy are tied for second in team scoring with 22 points each.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Blind River has played in a league-high seven overtime games so far this season having gone 1-4-2 in those contests. The club is 5-15-2-4 overall and sit in sixth in the leading standings. … Forward Samuel Wilbur seven points in his last three games while into a tie for sixth in NOJHL offensive production. … Teammate Corey McEwen is knotted for ninth in league scoring with 25 points.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats play twice this week as they have a home-and-home set vs. the Nickel Barons starting on the road this evening. … The team remains seventh in the NOJHL standings at 7-16-0-1, but have won two of their last three … They have gone 4-3 in their past five seven outings. …Elliot Lake has scored the fewest goals in the league so far this season at 66 while their 121 against is the most given up in the league. … Henry Berge has points in three straight and seven of eight in moving into a share of the team scoring lead with 17 points with Steve Gaul. … When scoring first in a game the Bobcats are 6-1-1, but a mere 1-15 when their opposition strike first.
 
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Kirkland Lake kicks off a five-game home stand Friday as they host the league-leading Soo Thunderbirds at The Joe. … The Gold Miners remain in third place in the league standings with a 13-11-2-1 overall record. … The club has allowed third fewest goals against to date with 86. … Jordan Briand continues as the team point leader with 22. … Connor McNally and Royce King sit tied for second on the squad with 20 points each. … Chris Komma sits fourth in NOJHL goals-against average at 3.00 while playing the most minutes overall at 1260:33. … He is tied for second in the NOJHL in victories with 11.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers have earned Honourable Mention in CJHL rankings for a second straight week. … North Bay presently sports the eighth best winning percentage in the 128-team CJHL at .780. …The club has two team scheduled this weekend with home dates vs. Blind River Friday and rival Sault Ste. Marie Sunday. … …North Bay has scored the most goals in the NOJHL this season at 114 while allowing the second fewest at 61. … Goalie Greg Dodds leads the league the NOJHL in wins with 13. He is second in goals-against average in the league at 2.21 and in save percentage at .927. … Brandon Janke is tied for sixth in NOJHL scoring with 30 points. … Brennen Dubchak and Samuel Blanchet are knotted for 11th in league offensive production. … Cole Klippenstein leads all NOJHL D-men in points with 20. … North Bay is 9-0-1 when Graham Pickard picks up at least one point in a game.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Soo plays three in a row on the road this weekend with stops in Kirkland Lake Friday, in Iroquois Falls vs. Abitibi Saturday and at North Bay Sunday afternoon. … The Thunderbirds have the fifth best winning percentage in the CJHL at .800. … They were rated 12th in the latest CJHL Top 20 rankings. … They sit in first place in the NOJHL standings with an 18-3-2-2 record while going 15-2-1-1 in their past 19. …They have allowed the fewest goals against in the league at 56 while scoring the second most at 110. … Rookie netminder Joel Horodziejczyk leads all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 1.82 and save percentage at .931. … 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. … The T-Birds have four players among the top 10 in NOJHL scoring. Adam Ritchie is fourth, Darcy Casola fifth, Derek Battagin eighth and Greg Sartoretto is tied for ninth with 40, 37, 28 and 25 points respectively. 

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Sudbury looks to extend a win streak to two this evening as they take on Elliot Lake in the first of a home-and-home with the Bobcats. … Sebastien Leroux is second in league scoring with 46 points followed by Darcy Haines in third with 45. … Leroux has been held of the score sheet three times in 24 games. … Haines is second in the league in goals with 23. … Sudbury is third overall in goals scored with 99, but has allowed the fourth most against at 103. … Michael Muzyka remains fifth in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 3.66.

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