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Regular Season 2012-2013

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Dudley-Hewitt Cup team preview: Soo Thunderbirds, NOJHL

04/29/2013, 7:00am EDT
By NOJHL Communications

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
www.nojhl.com

NOJHL COMMUNICATIONS
MEDIA RELEASE

Release Date: Monday, April 29, 2013

Dudley-Hewitt Cup team preview: Soo Thunderbirds, NOJHL

NORTH BAY – The 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Junior A championship, hosted by the North Bay Trappers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League April 30-May 4 at Memorial Gardens, gets underway Tuesday.

Joining the NOJHL champion Trappers at the four-team event will be the NOJHL finalist and defending Dudley-Hewitt title holding Soo Thunderbirds, along with the winners of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Junior Hockey League, the St. Michael’s Buzzers and Minnesota Wilderness respectively.

The following is a Dudley-Hewitt Cup competing team preview of the Soo Thunderbirds, NOJHL finalists:

THE THUNDERBIRDS: As the NOJHL is serving as the host league for this year’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup it meant they would have two representatives at the event.

With North Bay having one spot locked up as the host team, the Thunderbirds automatically earned the second bid by advancing to the NOJHL final against the Trappers.

This marks the second straight year Sault Ste. Marie is playing in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup and they return as defending champions after winning the title last year in Thunder Bay when they defeated the Stouffville Spirit of the OJHL in the title game.

There’s a half dozen players from last season’s squad that won both the NOJHL regular season and playoffs crowns along with the Dudley-Hewitt championship on this year’s squad.

The T-Birds finished the regular season in second spot, three points behind North Bay, with a 33-9-3-3 mark.

In their past two campaigns (98 games) Sault Ste. Marie has 70 wins against only 20 defeats and eight extra time decisions.

HOW THEY ARRIVED: Entering the 2013 postseason, the Thunderbirds had won their previous two playoff outings as part of their 2012 championship run and promptly ran their winning streak to six games as they swept the Abitibi Eskimos in NOJHL quarter-final play.

Moving on they extended their consecutive game win run to double digits after finishing off the Sudbury Nickel Barons in the minimum four outings in semifinal action.

That combined with North Bay knocking off Kirkland Lake in the other league semifinal meant the Sault was in the Dudley-Hewitt regardless of the outcome in the NOJHL championship.

After taking the opener to extend their playoff win streak to 11 games, the final turned out to be a battle right down to the end as the Thunderbirds rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to force a seventh and deciding game, which they would eventually lose in North Bay in what was a highly competitive affair.

STATISTICS: In the league playoffs the Thunderbirds saw three skaters finish among the top five in offensive production.

Brandon Warmington and Derek Battagin led the way with 16 points apiece, which was good enough to tie for the second highest total in the league. Warmington also topped all NOJHL shooters in postseason tallies with 10, of which three were game winners.

Captain Darcy Casola was next on the squad and fifth overall with 14 points on three goals and 11 assists.

Casola, who was earlier named the recipient of the NOJHL’s best overall team player award, paced the T-Birds in regular season scoring picking up 66 points in 48 games while Adam Ritchie was next with 61 in just 38 outings.

Sault Ste. Marie had nine skaters on their roster that notched 10 or markers during the course of the 2012-13 regular season.

Defenceman Tyler Jones led all blueliners offensively on the club with 23 points.

In net the Thunderbirds have a pair of solid goalkeepers in Joel Horodziejczyk and Steven Dombrosky.

Horodziejczyk’s stellar play in his first year in the league earned him NOJHL rookie of the year honours and he is also a finalist for the Canadian Junior Hockey League top rookie accolades.

He also garnered second team all-star laurels joining teammates Michael Caruso on defence along with forwards Warmington and Casola who also earned second team selections for their on-ice efforts.

Horodziejczyk led all goaltenders in save percentage in the playoffs at .942 and was second in goals-against average at 1.83 to go along with one shutout.

In regular season action the 18-year-old netminder was second in both average and save percentage at 2.38 and .918 respectively while picking up 19 wins, which were the third most of any goalie in the league.

As for Dombrosky, he was 5-2 in the playoffs with a 2.21 GAA and .934 save mark added to the 13 victories, against just two defeats, in regular season action.

BEHIND THE BENCH: After building the club that won last year’s Dudley-Hewitt crown, Thunderbirds’ general manager Kevin Cain moved behind the bench midway through this season taking over as head coach as well, now serving in both capacities for Sault Ste. Marie.

 

Dudley-Hewitt Cup team previews: St. Michael's Buzzers, OJHL

04/26/2013, 12:00pm EDT
By NOJHL Communications

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL COMMUNICATIONS
MEDIA RELEASE

Release Date: Friday, April 26, 2013

Dudley-Hewitt Cup team preview: St. Michael's Buzzers, OJHL

NORTH BAY – The North Bay Trappers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League are gearing up to host the 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Junior A championship, which goes April 30-May 4 at the venerable North Bay Memorial Gardens.

Joining the NOJHL champion Trappers at the four-team event will be the NOJHL finalist and defending Dudley-Hewitt title holding Soo Thunderbirds, along with the winners of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Junior Hockey League, the St. Michael’s Buzzers and Minnesota Wilderness respectively.

The following is a Dudley-Hewitt Cup competing team preview of the St. Michael’s Buzzers, champions of the OJHL:

THE BUZZERS: A storied junior hockey franchise, the Buzzers return to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup for the first time since 2006 when it was hosted in Thunder Bay.

During the course of the 2012-13 regular season St. Michael’s finished atop the OJHL South division with a record of 37-15-3-0 with their 77 points being good enough for the fourth best total in the 22-team league.

Moving on to the postseason, the Buzzers disposed of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in six games during opening round play.

Next up were the Georgetown Raiders in quarter-final action where St. Michael’s needed only five contests to win that best-of-seven affair 4-1.

OJHL semifinal competition saw the club meet the North York Rangers in an action-packed series that required six exciting contests before the Buzzers pulled it out.

Included in that series was a triple overtime thriller in game 3 and a double OT affair in game 6, both won by St. Michael’s.

THE FINALS: Advancing to the OJHL championship for the Buckland Cup, St. Michael’s found themselves down 2-0 after the opening two games of the final against the Newmarket Hurricanes.

Not to be deterred and buoyed by the brilliant netminding of goaltender of Adrian Ignagni, who would allow only seven more goals the rest of the way, the Buzzers came all the way back to win the OJHL final in a series that went the full seven games, including a 3-1 victory on home ice in front of a jam-packed crowd at St. Michael’s College School Arena in Toronto.

PLAYOFF MVP: A strong postseason in which he registered an OJHL-high 35 points helped earned Buzzers forward Shane Conacher league playoff most valuable player laurels.

The 19-year-old Burlington native scored 14 goals, including notching the game-winner in game 7 vs. Newmarket, and dished out 21 assists. He was also only held off the score sheet in five of his 23 playoff games played.

STATISTICS: The strong playoff run saw the Buzzers have seven players in the top 20 of OJHL scoring.

After Conacher, Matt Galati was knotted for third in the league with 27 points, which included a team-best three game-winning tallies.

Troy Josephs shared sixth with 20 points while Jake Evans and Troy Buckles tied for 11th picking up 17 each.

Rounding out the list were Jordan Merante and Michael Neville who both recorded 15 points in the playoffs.

The leading scorer for the club in regular season action was Buckles who had a team-leading 40 goals to go along with 31 helpers.

Captain Patrick McCarron’s 58 points led all OJHL defencemen in offensive production in the regular season while Cody Doiron and McCarron finished third and fourth overall in the postseason with 13 and 11 points between them.

Another strong candidate for OJHL playoff MVP accolades was netminder Adrian Ignagni.

He topped all OJHL puck stoppers in postseason victories with 16 and also led the way in save percentage at .938, among those who saw 400 minutes or more of game action. He was also fourth in goals-against average at 2.48.

ON THE RADAR: National Hockey League Central Scouting released their final rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft this June earlier this week and a pair of Buzzers were among 15 Canadian Junior Hockey League players that were identified as potential draft selections.

Forwards Matt Buckles and Troy Josephs were tabbed 117th and 119th respectively among North American skaters.

NCAA BOUND: The Buzzers presently have seven players on their roster that have committed to play NCAA hockey in the U.S. on scholarship.

OJHL top defenceman award winner and CJHL defenceman of the year finalist McCarron will be off to the ECAC and Cornell with Buckles while Josephs will join fellow ECAC member, the Clarkson Golden Knights.

Forward Jake Evans, a finalist for CJHL rookie of the year, will attend the University of Notre Dame and Michael Neville will be going to Michigan Tech of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Meanwhile defenceman Jared Walsh has committed to Michigan for 2014 and OJHL playoff MVP Shane Conacher is going to Canasius.

BENCH BOSS: The head coach of the team is Rich Ricci, who also serves as the club’s general manager.

Thunderbirds Horodziejczyk finalist for CJHL rookie of the year

04/23/2013, 7:30am EDT
By NOJHL Communications

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL COMMUNICATIONS
MEDIA RELEASE

Release date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thunderbirds Horodziejczyk finalist for CJHL rookie of the year

SUDBURY – The Canadian Junior Hockey League has announced  the Soo Thunderbirds goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk has been named a finalist for the CJHL rookie of the year award.

The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League rookie of the year recipient, is one of seven hopefuls up for the award.

During the 2012-13 regular season the 18-year-old Sudbury native saw action in 32 games posting a win-loss-tie record of 19-10-2 along with a goals-against average of 2.38 and a save mark of .918.

Horodziejczyk finished third overall in the league in victories while sitting second in GAA and save percentage. He also tied for fourth in shutouts.

The Thunderbirds netminder and the rest of his Sault Ste. Marie teammates will be on the road Wednesday for game 7 of the NOJHL championship series vs. the North Bay Trappers in a 7:30 p.m. start at Memorial Gardens.

Both clubs will also move on to represent the league at next week’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup in North Bay, which will also feature the St. Michael’s Buzzers and Minnesota Wilderness, the respective champions of the Ontario Jr. and Superior International Jr. Hockey Leagues.

This will be the first time the CJHL rookie of the year award is being presented on a national level and represents one of seven newly created league awards.
 
It will be presented to the most outstanding rookie based on regular season individual performance.

A CJHL rookie is defined as a player with fewer than 20 games in any Junior A or Major Junior league in previous seasons and who was 18 or younger as of Dec. 31 of the current season. 
 
Each of the 10 leagues in the CJHL nominated a candidate for rookie of the year.

The first stage of the selection process saw representatives from all 10 Junior A leagues rank their top five players from among the 10 national nominees.

Rankings were then assigned a point value and the five players with the highest point total (and ties) move on as finalists to the final round of voting.
 
The finalists for the 2013 CJHL Rookie of the Year are:
 
Jake Evans, St Michael’s Buzzers, OJHL
(50 GP, 12 G, 32 A, 44 PTS)
Finished seventh overall in team scoring with 44 points in 50 games. … A native of Toronto, Evans was the youngest member of Team Canada East at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge in Yarmouth, N.S. … He would also be named to the OJHL Prospects Team that would defeat the CCHL Prospects at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge. … Following the season, Evans was named an OJHL 1st Team All-Prospect. … Has committed to play NCAA hockey at the University of Notre Dame.
 
Joel Horodziejczyk, Soo Thunderbirds, NOJHL
(32 GP, 19 W, 10 L, 2 T, 2 SO, 2.38 GAA, .918 SV%)
Horodziejczyk was named NOJHL rookie of the year. … In 32 appearances during the course of the 2012-13 regular season, he posted a win-loss-tie record of 19-10-2 along with a goals-against average of 2.38 and a .918 save mark. … Finished third overall in the league in victories while sitting second in GAA and save percentage. The 18-year-old Sudbury product also shared fourth spot in the NOJHL in shutouts with two..
 
Tristan Keck, Winkler Flyers, MJHL
(60 GP, 31 G, 32 A, 63 PTS)
Was selected as the MJHL Rookie of the Year. … Led all MJHL rookies in scoring with 63 points on 31 goals and 32 assists. … Finished 11th overall in league scoring and was one of two 17-year-old players among the league's top 20 scorers. 
 
Jake Larson, Minnesota Wilderness, SIJHL
(49 GP, 44 G, 28 A, 72 PTS)
SIJHL Rookie of the Year. … A native of St. Michael’s led all SIJHL skaters in goals this season with 44 and also finished second overall in league scoring with 72 points. … Ended the regular season riding an impressive 19-game point streak, which included 17 tallies.
 
Tanner MacMaster, Camrose Kodiaks, AJHL
(56 GP, 24 G, 24 A, 48 PTS)
2012-13 AJHL rookie of the year. … Led all rookies in scoring with 48 points and the Kodiaks with 24 goals. … Was a unanimous selection to the AJHL South Division all-rookie team and represented the AJHL as a member of Team Pacific at the 2013 World Junior Under 17 Hockey Challenge. Has committed to Boston College.
 
Morgan Messenger, Yarmouth Mariners, MHL
(36 GP, 19 G, 15 A, 34 PTS)
MHL rookie of the year. … Is a 17-year-old native of Barrington, N.S. … Was a noticeable offensive threat early for the Mariners and, despite missing several games due to injury, finished with 34 points in 36 games. … Was chosen to play in the CJHL Prospects Games held in November.
 
Kelly Summers, Carleton Place Canadians, CCHL
(59 GP, 13 G, 20 A, 33 PTS)
Was named the CCHL rookie of the year. … His remarkable freshman season was marked by a number of statistical accomplishments and accolades. … With 33 points in 59 games, finished11th overall in defencemen scoring and third overall in rookie points. … Was named to the CCHL all-rookie team and was selected to participate on the CCHL Central Canada Cup Prospects team. … Has committed to Clarkson University.

The first-ever recipient of the 2013 CJHL Rookie of the Year and all other CJHL award winners will be announced during the week of May 6-10. 
 
For More Information:
Contact:
Kirk Lamb, President
Canadian Junior Hockey League
(403) 650-9027
president@cjhlhockey.com

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Contact Information

Kevin Cain

Kevin Cain

General Manager

Phone: (705) 949-3001

P.O. Box 39
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
P6A5L8 Canada
Fax: (705) 949-3001
Home Rink
John Rhodes Community Centre
280 Elizabeth Street
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Phone: (705) 759-5262