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NOJHL NoteBook – January 11, 2012

Release Date: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 201

 

Busy nine-game week in store for the NOJHL

SUDBURY, Ont. –A busy stretch sees a total of nine games on the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League slate this week with each of those contests set to be played over a five-day period.

Action gets underway Wednesday evening at McClelland Arena in Sudbury as the hometown Cubs entertain the Soo Eagles in a battle of surging clubs who are both 9-1 in their past 10 outings. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.

Two more tilts are on the docket Thursday including Kirkland Lake paying a visit to the Memorial Gardens in North Bay to take on the Trappers at 7 p.m.

The other match-up features McIntyre Arena in Timmins as the site as the Abitibi Eskimos square off against Sudbury at 7:30 p.m.

Friday will see the Blind River Beavers going in search of their initial win of 2012 as they host the Soo Eagles at the Community Centre while Abitibi travels to Kirkland Lake in a pair of 7:30 p.m. starts.

The top two teams in the NOJHL standings will highlight a three-game Saturday as the league-leading Soo Thunderbirds entertain the Soo Eagles at the Essar Centre with action set to get underway at 7:30 p.m.

Also on this night Blind River wraps up a four-game home stand as they take on Sudbury while North Bay heads to Kirkland Lake to meet the Blue Devils.

The busy week then concludes Sunday with one final contest as the Trappers return home to compete against the Eskimos.

Game time in that one is set for 7 p.m. at the Gardens.

WEEK-IN-REVIEW: The week that was in the NOJHL provided some impressive offensive output along with some stingy goaltending and the extension of a pair of impressive point streaks.

Marc-Alain Begin of the Abitibi Eskimos exploded for 12 points in just two games helping his side post victories over Kirkland Lake and Sudbury.

What made Begin’s efforts even more remarkable is he played a hand in all 12 tallies the Eskies registered in those two triumphs.

The 20-year-old Hearst product scored once and set-up four others in a 5-4 win against the Blue Devils and followed that up by notching a hat-trick, including potting the game-winner, while also picking up four assists in a 7-4 decision over the Cubs.

Begin’s efforts allowed him to soar all the way into a tie for second overall in NOJHL scoring having amassed 79 points in just 24 games. His 3.29 point-per-game average tops all skaters in the league.

A pair of shutouts were also recorded last week with John Kleinhans of the Soo Thunderbirds and Mitchell Knight of the North Bay Trappers both accomplishing the feat on Saturday in pair of 8-0 road blankings.

Kleinhans posted his league-leading fifth shutout of the campaign turning aside all 32 shots he faced in whitewashing the rival Soo Eagles at Pullar Stadium putting an end to the Eagles nine-game winning streak.

As for Knight, the Trappers netminder turned in a 33-save performance helping North Bay win in Blind River.

His efforts gave the 18-year-old North Bay native his third shutout of the season while lowering his NOJHL-best goals-against average to a solid 2.48.

Last week also saw the Sudbury Cubs dynamic duo of Jordan Carroll and Jamie Haines extend consecutive game point streaks to 24 games apiece. Carroll has picked up 31 goals and 34 assists during his run while Haines has tallied 26 times and added 40 helpers.

CCES AGREEMENT: The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport are pleased to announce a new two-year agreement under which the CCES will provide anti-doping education and testing services in support of the NOJHL’s newly implemented anti-doping policy.

“It is very encouraging to see the NOJHL take a proactive approach and become the first league under the Canadian Junior Hockey League umbrella to focus on anti-doping education and testing,” said Paul Melia, President and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.

“The CCES already provides anti-doping services to thousands of junior hockey players, and values each new partnership as it gets us closer to our vision of sport in Canada that is fair, safe and open to everyone.”

“We are extremely pleased to partner with the CCES, the foremost authority in anti-doping and sport ethics within this country,” notes Robert Mazzuca, Commissioner of the NOJHL.

“I commend our teams and their boards of directors for initiating an anti-doping policy and ensuring, through our partnership with the CCES, that we are continuously educating and protecting our young athletes.”

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is an independent, national, not-for-profit organization. We recognize that true sport can make a great difference for individuals, communities and our country. We are committed to working collaboratively to activate a values-based and principle-driven sport system; protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats; and advocating for sport that is fair, safe and open to everyone.

CJHL TOP 20 RANKINGS: The initial Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings for 2012 were released on Monday with the NOJHL’s Soo Thunderbirds once again remaining in the top 10.

The T-Birds were listed No. 8 overall moving up two notches from the final ratings of 2011, which were announced in late December.

Winners of 20 consecutive games, the Penticton Vees of the BCHL have surpassed the Woodstock Slammers of the MHL and moved into the No. 1 spot overall in the CJHL dropping Woodstock to No. 2. Rounding out the top five are the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL), Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) and Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) who were tabbed third, fourth and fifth respectively.

The previous rankings and the leagues in which the teams belong to are in parenthesis. The weekly rankings are selected in consultation with NHL Central Scouting and are proudly presented by PlayingUpHockey.com:

CJHL Top 20 (As of Jan. 9/11)

1. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (2)
2. Woodstock Slammers (MHL) (1)
3. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (3)
4. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (7)
5. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (4)
6. Wisconsin Wilderness (SIJHL) (8)
7. Nepean Raiders (CCHL) (5)
8. SOO THUNDERBIRDS (NOJHL) (10)
9. Newmarket Hurricanes (OJHL) (13)
10. Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) (18)
11. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (11)
12. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (6)
13. Dauphin Kings (MJHL) (9)
14. Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL) (17)
15. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (14)
16. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (12)
17. Cowichan Valley Capitals (BCHL) (19)
18. Cobourg Cougars (OJHL) (NR)
19. St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL) (HM)
20. Les Cougars du College Champlain – Sherbrooke (LHJAAAQ) (20)

Honourable Mention: Weyburn Red Wings (SJHL), Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL), Georgetown Raiders (OJHL), Stouffville Spirit (OJHL), Metro Marauders (MHL).

The weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the teams play, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.

The CJHL is comprised of the 10 junior A hockey leagues across Canada.

PlayingUpHockey.com is the premiere social network website specifically designed for hockey players, scouts, coaches, fans and advertisers. PlayingUpHockey.com allows players to create free personal profiles to promote their accomplishments and get noticed by scouts and coaches at upper levels. Just as importantly, our site fosters player and parent learning and knowledge about what it takes to successfully be recruited and simply, “play up”. Visit PlayingUpHockey.com today.

DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: At the conclusion of the league playoffs, the NOJHL champion will advance to represent the league at the 2012 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship April 17-21 in Thunder Bay.

The four-team event will be hosted by the Thunder Bay North Stars of the Superior International Junior Hockey League. All games in the five-day tournament will be played at the Fort William Gardens.

Joining the NOJHL in the Lakehead will be the title holder of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League as well as the SIJHL champions and the host North Stars.

Taking a glance at the other two leagues that will compete in the DHC you’ll find the race for first place overall in the OJHL continues to be led by three clubs.

The St. Michael’s Buzzers have the highest point total in the 27-team league at 67, but it is the Trenton Golden Hawks who boast the top winning percentage at .829.

The Newmarket Hurricanes are second in win percentage at .824 followed by the Buzzers at .817.

Points wise after St. Michael’s is Trenton with 63 and the Hurricanes at 61.

As for the SIJHL, the defending league champion Wisconsin Wilderness continue to shine having won 14 consecutive games while going 19-0-1 in their past 20 and moving up to No. 6 overall in the CJHL rankings. They have a 31-3-1 record overall.

Second place Fort Frances has reeled off seven victories in succession improving to 26-8-4.

As for the host North Stars, who last hosted the Dudley-Hewitt Cup in 2006 where they defeated Sudbury in the final and advancing to the Royal Bank Cup, theyve gone 16-7-2 in their last 25 games and hold down third spot in the SIJHL.

Thunder Bay in fact has won the previous three times they hosted the Dudley-Hewitt Cup.

Along with the North Stars triumph in 2006, the Thunder Bay Flyers were victorious in both 1992 and 1995.

Of the last 10 Dudley-Hewitt Cup tournaments the OJHL has won eight, including five in a row, while the NOJHL and SIJHL have captured one apiece. The last NOJHL side to win the DHC was the Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats back in 2002.

The 2013 Dudley-Hewitt Cup will be hosted by the Sudbury Kal Tire Cubs.

WEBSITE: The NOJHL website offers the latest news and information on the seven-team loop ranging from their schedule, statistics and additional notes on this the 50th anniversary season of the league. You can find the website online at http://www.nojhl.com/.

FASTHOCKEY: Fans can watch live NOJHL games online on a pay-per-view basis throughout the year via FASTHOCKEY.

Simply visit nojhl.fasthockey.com to sign up or for more information.

NOJHL ROSTER MOVES: Transactions made by the various NOJHL clubs up to the Hockey Canada junior roster freeze deadline of Jan. 10.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Abitibi Eskimos acquire Jake Ryan from the Stratford Cullitons
Abitibi Eskimos acquire Chris Green from the Loups De la Tuque
Abitibi Eskimos release Nicolas Cleverdon-Beaudoin
Abitibi Eskimos release Mathieu Lefebvre
Blind River Beavers transfer B.J. Pirus to the Thunder Bay North Stars
Blind River Beavers release Jordan Deppisch
North Bay Trappers transfer Jonathan Aubertin to the Summerside Capitals
North Bay Trappers acquire Stephen Klein from the Drayton Valley Thunder
North Bay Trappers release Gianluca Palmieri
Kirkland Lake Blue Devils release Jarryd Ramborger
Kirkland Lake Blue Devils release Brandon Dewar
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Thunderbirds acquire Joey Couture from the Brockville Braves
Friday, January 6, 2012
January 06 – Soo Thunderbirds acquire Kris Barclay from the Pickering Panthers
Friday, December 30, 2011
December 30 – Soo Thunderbirds transfer Joe Spitzer to the Huntsville Otters.

NOJHL TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES

ABITIBI ESKIMOS:Winners of two in a row the Eskimos will look to extend their modest streak with games this week vs. Sudbury, Kirkland Lake and North Bay…The club remains second in the NOJHL Eastern Division and fourth overall at 18-13-4…Their 13 home wins share the second highest total in the NOJHL…Marc-Alain Begin’s monster week allowed his to take over the team scoring lead with 79 points, which is also a tie for second best in the NOJHL…Begin’s 13 power play markers are the second most in the league…Richard Therrien had seven points last week moving to 68 overall and sixth in the NOJHL. His nine PPG leave him knotted for fourth…Three of the Eskies next four games will be played on the road while the other is a neutral site game in Timmins where they will serve as the home side.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS: The Beavers wrap-up a four-game home stand with match-ups against the Soo Eagles and Sudbury Friday and Saturday respectively at the Blind River Community Centre…The club dropped the opening games of the home run falling to North Bay and the Soo Thunderbirds over the weekend… The club sits in the cellar of the NOJHL western division as well as seventh overall with a 5-30-2 record…A goal and an assist Sunday allowed Paul Muio to take over the team scoring lead with 21 points. Joel McAuley is next with 20 while Tyler Brown is third with 19…Shane Snow has points in five of his past seven contests.

KIRKLAND LAKE BLUE DEVILS: The first-year Blue Devils face three in as many nights this week including a pair vs. North Bay and another meeting with Abitibi. The club’s lone contest last week was a hard fought 5-4 setback to the Eskimos…Travis Jones remains the team scoring leader with 29 points…Dustin Roy is next on the club with 28…Three of Jordan Turbide’s 11 goals have been game-winners, which lead the team. All of his markers have been scored since Nov. 18…After Thursday’s game in North Bay the Blue Devils will play four straight on home ice.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS: Winners of five of their past six games the Trappers will look to continue their winning ways this week with a home-and-home vs. Kirkland Lake and an encounter with Abitibi at the Gardens… Matthew Salituro and Brad Edwards share the team scoring lead with 31 points apiece…Salituro’s three game-winning goals pace the club…Goaltender Mitchell Knight continues to lead all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.48 and is second in save percentage at .902…The Traps have allowed the third fewest goals in the league at 125…A busy run sees North Bay play eight games between Jan. 12-29…They’ve gone 5-5 in their last 10 outings.

SOO EAGLES: Despite seeing their nine-game winning streak snapped by the rival Thunderbirds over the weekend, the Eagles are still 13-2 in their past 15. They trail the T-Birds by seven points in the NOJHL standings, but hold four games in hand…The Eagles have three skaters among the top 10 in league offensive production. Brock Raffaele (31g-30a-61pts) is eighth, Brian Depp (28g-30a-58pts) is ninth and Shane Totten (18g-33a-51pts) sits 10th…Luis Puig has gone an impressive 7-1-2 in net since joining the club while posting a 2.96 goals-against average and .906 save mark…The Eagles play their next seven games on the road as well as 11 of 12 away from Pullar Stadium.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS: Winners of two in a row the league-leading Thunderbirds maintain their perch atop the NOJHL standings with a 28-7 mark and a .800 winning percentage….The Soo has produced 10 players with 20 or more points so far in 2011-12. Team leading scorer Micky Sartoretto has a nine-game point streak on the go. He has also recorded points in 21 of his past 22 outings. His 70 total points puts him fifth in NOJHL scoring. Teammate Matt Amadio sits seventh in the league in offensive production with 62 points, including 10 picked up last week….Goalkeeper John Kleinhans leads all goalies in wins (18), shutouts, (5) save percentage (.911) and minutes played (1,490). He is second in goals-against average at 2.86…Three of the clubs’ next four games are at home including the next two at Essar Centre.

SUDBURY CUBS: The Cubs have three games in four nights starting this evening vs. the Soo Eagles… Sudbury has gone 16-4 in the past 20 games…Sudbury sports three of the top four scoring leaders in the NOJHL…The league’s leading point producer Jordan Carroll has the second highest offensive numbers in the entire CJHL with 92…Jamie Haines, who shares second in the NOJHL offensively, leads the league in game-winning goals with seven. No. 4 overall scorer Nick Esposto is tops in power play markers with 17 while Carroll leads the way in shorthanded tallies with five and shares third overall with four game-winners…Carroll and Haines are also both riding solid 24-game point streaks entering play this week…The team leads the NOJHL in goals scored with 202…Their nine road victories is a tie for second most overall…The Cubs are one of three NOJHL teams with winning records at home and away.