By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
TIMMINS – The Timmins Rock were shutout when the NOJHL Awards were announced last week, but the team has placed two representatives on the CCM Second All-Star Team.
Albert Rogers, picked up from the French River Rapids in a Nov. 17 trade, is the goaltender on the squad.
Rogers (2,221:00, 17-15-3-2, 1, 3.59, .908) led the NOJHL in minutes played this season, tied for fifth in games won, posted the 12th-best goals-against average and was ninth in saves percentage.
His statistics (1,676:00, 16-8-2-1, 1, 3.15, .911, Rock; 545:00, 1-7-1-1, 0, 4.95, .902, Rapids) following the deal that brought him to Timmins from French River.
After returning from an upper-body injury, the North Haven, Conn., native finished the season strong, going 11-4-0-1 in his final 15 decisions.
Rogers broke into the NOJHL during the 2015-16 campaign with the Elliot Lake Wildcats and posted some impressive statistics (947:00, 7-8-1-0, 1, 2.85, .905) as a rookie.
The Rock will be counting heavily on Rogers to provide strong goaltending when they open their NOJHL East Division semifinal series against the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre in Cochrane Thursday night.
Last season, Rogers saw action in four playoff contests with the Wildcats, posting a record of 207:00, 1-1-0,, 0, 4.07, .896).
The Rock’s second representative on the CCM Second All-Star Team is general manager Paul Gagne.
Gagne, an Iroquois Falls native who played 390 games in the NHL with Colorado, New Jersey, Toronto and the New York Islanders, is currently the longest serving general manager and coach in the NOJHL.
His contributions off the ice recruiting players for the franchise helped the Rock improve their win total by seven games and their points total by 17 during the 2016-17 campaign.
Not surprisingly, Nate McDonald — who was last week named the NOJHL’s most valuable player and top goaltender — is the netminder on the CCM First All-Star Team.
The 17-year-old North Bay native led all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.16 and wins with 30.
He was also third in save percentage at .923 and finished tied for second in shutouts with three, while playing the fourth-most minutes in the league at 2,112.
The defencemen on the CCM First All-Star Team are Connor Lovie, of the Crunch, and Josh DeJulio, of the Iroquois Falls Eskis.
Lovie turned in a solid 2016-17 campaign at both ends of the ice, helping lead the Crunch to their second-straight 35-plus win season.
The 19-year-old London, Ont., native, who serves as Cochrane’s captain, was named the top defenceman in the NOJHL last week.
Lovie produced single-season highs in goals, assists and points with six, 21 and 27 respectively, while providing a leadership and a strong presence on the Crunch blue-line.
DeJulio, meanwhile, led all NOJHL defencemen in scoring this season, averaging over a point per game, with 56 in 54 outings on 11 goals and a league-best 45 assists.
The 20-year-old Iroquois Falls native also collected 24 power-play points, along with two game-winning efforts. He shattered personal single-season totals in goals, assists, points and man-advantage markers.
Yianni Liarakos, of the Blind River Beavers, is the CCM First All-Star Team left-winger.
The 20-year-old Toronto native paced the Beavers offensively and also finished tied for second in league scoring with 78 points.
Liarakos led the league in game-winning goals with 11 and was second overall in total markers with 39.
His 29 power-play points topped all NOJHL skaters.
Liarakos also contributed to 36% of Blind River’s offensive numbers during the course of the regular season and posted a 16-game point streak earlier in the year.
Andy Baker, of the Powassan Voodoos, is the centre on the CCM First All-Star Team.
After playing Junior ‘C’ last season, the 17-year-old Baker made an impressive jump to the Junior ‘A’ ranks with the Voodoos.
The Port Carling, Ont., product led all NOJHL skaters in goals, with 45, and finished fourth overall in scoring with 75 points.
Baker also tied for the league-lead in power-play markers, with 14, and finished second in game-winning tallies with 10.
He posted a nine-game goal streak at one point during the season.
Baker’s teammate, Gary Mantz, is the right-winger on the CCM First All-Star Team.
Mantz made his mark throughout the season, helping Powassan finish first overall in the standings.
He was fifth in the league in point-per-game average, at 1.50, while accumulating 32 goals and 37 assists for 69 points.
Mantz also registered an eight-game goal streak along with a league season-high 20-game point run earlier in the campaign.
Chris Dawson, of the Voodoos, is the CCM First All-Star Team general manager.
It is the second-straight season Dawson has garnered the honour.
He continues to be a vital cog to the overall success of the Voodoos organization.
Under his guidance, the Voodoos registered franchise highs in wins and points in 2016-17 and finishing first overall in the league standings.
Kyle Brick, of the Beavers, is the coach of the CCM First All-Star Team.
The first-year Blind River bench boss led the Beavers to a franchise record for wins in a season, at 32.
Under Brick’s guidance the Beavers posted 22 more victories and 44 more points than the club did in 2015-16.
Blind River also placed second in the league’s West Division and fifth overall in the 12-team NOJHL, with a solid 32-20-4-0 mark.
The trainer/equipment manager for the CCM First All-Star Team is J.J. Johnson, of the Voodoos.
He was recognized for his work with the league-leading Voodoos, as well as his service as one of the trainers/equipment managers for Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup this past November in Cornwall.
Cole Peck, of the Beavers, and Jake Behse, of the Soo Thunderbirds, are the defencemen on the CCM Second All-Star Team.
Anchoring the Blind River defensive corps, Peck played a big part in the club’s success in both ends of the ice in 2016-17.
The 20-year-old Ottawa native led all Beavers D-men with 31 point in 49 games.
Peck was sixth in scoring among all NOJHL rearguards.
A stalwart on the Thunderbirds’ blue-line, Behse contributed to the overall success of his team in all areas.
While helping anchor Sault Ste. Marie from the back-end, Behse, who turned 20 earlier this year, had career single-season numbers.
Hailing from Thunder Bay, the Soo D-man scored six times and helped set up 21 more for 27 points.
Braeden Cross, of the Crunch, is the CCM Second All-Star Team left-winger.
In his final year of junior hockey and first with Cochrane, Cross collected 82 points to lead the NOJHL in offensive production.
From Sechelt, B.C., the Crunch forward scored 37 times and assisted on 45 others.
Cross also recorded 27 power-play points and scored three game-winning goals.
Matthew Caruso, of the Thunderbirds, is the centre on the CCM Second All-Star Team.
The Thunderbirds captain played a pivotal role in the club’s success all season long.
The 19-year-old Sault Ste. Marie product led the T-Birds in scoring for a second-straight year. In 54 games he scored 29 times and doled out 41 helpers for 70 points.
Caruso’s efforts saw him finish tied for seventh in league offensive numbers.
The Thunderbirds forward was 11th in goalies, tied for sixth in assists and shared fifth overall in game-winning markers, with six, while playing extremely well in all areas of the ice.
Shadow Reuben, of the Eskis, is the CCM Second All-Star Team right-winger.
A sensational sophomore season, saw the 18-year-old from Moosenee shatter his offensive totals from a year ago.
Reuben ended up tied for second in NOJHL scoring with 78 points, which included 33 goalies and 45 helpers.
The Iroquois Falls forward boasted a 13-game point streak during the season.
The coach of the CCM Second All-Star Team is Scott Wray, of the Voodoos.
In his third year as head coach of the Voodoos, Wray guided his club to the best record in the NOJHL and a second straight 40-plus-win season.
His efforts as bench boss with Powassan saw his side improve their point totals for another year.
The trainer/equipment manager for the CCM Second All-Star Team is Carla Vine, of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.
Vine continues to be one of the top team trainers in the league and is a multiple league all-star team award recipient.
— With files from NOJHL Network