NOJHL names it Eastlink Playoff 3 Stars of the week

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Monday that forward Kyle Liinamaa of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians along with goaltenders Shayne Battler of the Cochrane Crunch and Eric Jackson of the Timmins Rock have been named its Eastlink TV Playoffs 3 Stars of the Week for the period ending April 8.

KYLE LIINAMAA, (G) RAYSIDE-BALFOUR CANADIANS – Continuing to play some of his best hockey all season, Liinamaa’s four-point week helped put the Canadians to within one win of a berth in the NOJHL finals.

He had tallies in both Game 3 & 4 vs. the Soo Thunderbirds then doled out two impressive assists in Rayside-Balfour’s Game 5 triumph on home ice Sunday afternoon against Sault. Ste. Marie.

Currently riding a four-game point streak, the 19-year-old from Sudbury, leads all NOJHL skaters in playoff production with 14 points.

His seven tallies tie him for the league lead and he’s knotted for second in game-winners with two.

Liinamaa has only been held off the scoresheet twice in his first 11 postseason outings in 2018.

He also had 32 points in his final 18 regular season contests.

SHAYNE BATTLER, (G) COCHRANE CRUNCH – Starting the final two games of Cochrane’s series against Timmins, Battler won both of them helping send the Crunch the NOJHL finals against either the Rayside-Balfour Canadians or Soo Thunderbirds.

The 20-year-old Oshawa, Ont., product began by recording his initial league shutout, a 30-save performance, in Game 4 as Cochrane skated to a narrow 1-0 triumph over the Rock.

Battler then made 32 more stops in Game 5 as the Crunch punched their ticket to the league championship series.

Entering play this week, he leads all NOJHL netminders in both playoff goals-against average and save percentage at 1.00 and .963 respectively.

ERIC JACKSON, (G) TIMMINS ROCK – Despite his club’s season-ending setback in the East final vs. Cochrane, the Timmins netminder had a stellar run.

In three starts last week the 20-year-old from Toronto only allowed four goals against for an average of 1.33.

He also turned aside 102 shots fired his way for a solid .962 save percentage and posted his first NOJHL playoff shutout.

Jackson wrapped his campaign making seven appearances while registering a 1.96 goals-against average along with a .941 save mark.


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Eastlink TV 3 Stars

Week 1
Owen Robinson, (F) Blind River Beavers
Garret Boyonoski, (G) Blind River Beavers
Matthew Murray, (D) Blind River Beavers

Week 2
Wayne Mathieu, (F) Timmins Rock
Garret Boyonoski, (G) Blind River Beavers
Jared Hester, (D) Timmins Rock

Week 3
Derek Seguin, (F) Timmins Rock
Brayden Lachance, (G) Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Carter McPhail, (G) Soo Eagles

Week 4
Eric Schuch, (G) Soo Thunderbirds
Taylor Unruh, (G) Cochrane Crunch
Brayden Lachance, (G) Rayside-Balfour Canadians

Week 5
Kyle Liinamaa, (F) Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Shayne Battler, (G) Cochrane Crunch
Eric Jackson, (G) Timmins Rock